American Enterprise

Detail photograph of cash register, 1921
American Enterprise chronicles the tumultuous interaction of capitalism and democracy that resulted in the continual remaking of American business—and American life. Visitors are immersed in the dramatic arc of labor, power, wealth, success, and failure in America in an 8,000-square-foot space focused on the role of business and innovation from the mid-1700s to the present. Use the links below to explore the exhibition and other related stories.

American Enterprise exhibition logoAll of objects, videos, and interactive displays showcased in American Enterprise are available online in the exhibition's companion website. Use the site to chart your own journey through the exhibition and trace the country's development from a small, dependent agricultural nation to one of the world’s most vibrant economies.

Photograph of a group of patent medicine bottles and boxes from the late 1800s and early 1800s. The bottles and boxes come in a wide range of sizes, with a large amount of text and a few iimages depicintg spoke-characters and stereotypes. Visit the "Advertising Business" section's companion website to explore how the ad industry has shaped interactions betweens producers and consumers throughout American history.

Photograph of the Merchant Era section in the American Enterprise exhibition. In the center of the photo stands a wooden Red River Cart from the 1800s.In a hurry? Follow our curators' highlights guide to get an overview of the exhibition featuring key objects and stories.

Photograph of a museum staff member showing farming objects to visitors during an Ask a Farmer program.Planning a trip? Make sure to check the museum's calendar to see what will be happening during your visit. Public programs like Ask A Farmer are a fun way to learn more about the interconnected histories of business, agriculture, and food.

Photograph of the Exchange section in the American Enterprise exhibition. The section is lit dramatically. On the floor, with numbers projected on the floor and a glowing tower in the center.Take a virtual tour through the exhibition using a photo gallery created by the museum's photographers.