American Enterprise

Details 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 will be 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. Through captivating objects and engaging interactive displays, visitors can trace the country’s development from a small, dependent agricultural nation to one of the world’s most vibrant economies.

Within the exhibition’s exploration of the merchant, corporate, consumer, and global eras of business history are woven stories on advertising history and a biography wall with capsule histories of inventors, entrepreneurs, marketers, regulators, and others who transformed American life. In the concluding “Exchange” section, visitors can try to manage a farm, run a cat food business, resolve tough ethical dilemmas, and scale the tower of business success through cooperation or competition.