Peter Liebhold

Peter Liebhold


B.F.A, Maryland Institute College of Art, 1980

Research Specialties: 
  • Culture of work
  • Management practice
  • Manufacturing technology
  • Methods and motivations of technological change
  • Work imagery

Current Projects:

  • Barriers to Bridges:  Asian American Immigration After Exclusion, Co-curator, 2008.
  • American Enterprise
  • Bittersweet Harvest: The Bracero Program 1942–1964
  • America on the Move, Web development

Past Projects: Exhibitions:

  • Treasures of American History, Co-curator, NASM, Nov. 2006 to April 2008. 
  • America on the Move, NMAH, November 2003, co-curator.
  • The Spirit of America, NMAH, lead curator 2001-2002, project canceled by donor.
  • From Turbines to Tupperware: Two Centuries of Industrial Drawings from the Smithsonian Institution, Payne Gallery, Moravian College, Bethlehem, PA, August - November, 2001, co-curator.
  • Preview Center, National Museum of Industrial History, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, in development
  • Between a Rock and a Hard Place: A History of American Sweatshops, 1820–Present, NMAH, Washington, DC, April - Dec. 1998, Museum of Tolerance, Los Angeles, California, November 1999 - March 2000, co-curator
  • The Family Car, NMAH, June 1997–August 1997, co-curator
  • Images of Steel: 1860–1994, NMAH, 1994–1995, co-curator.
  • The Paper Shuffle, NMAH, Information Age Theater, 1993, multimedia presentation, co-curator.
  • Who’s In Charge? Workers and Managers in the United States, SITES traveling exhibit, 1992–1996, co-curator.
  • The Tool Chest, NMAH, 1991–2006, co-curator.
  • Workers and Managers: The Crises of Control in American Manufacturing, NMAH, 1989–1990, co-curator.
  • Information Age, NMAH, 1990–1996, section coordinator.


  • Sweatshops and Efforts of Reform, symposium
  • No Sweat U: Labor Standards and Codes of Conduct, October 6, 1998, Carmichael Auditorium, NMAH
  • 25th Anniversary of the Occupational Safety and Health Act, April 29, 1996, Carmichael Auditorium, NMAH
  • Economic Security and Progress: Commemoration of the 50th year of the Employment Act of 1946, February 20, 1996, NMAH
  • Wages and Jobs in an Era of Downsizing (part II of the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Employment Act of 1946), May 1, 1996, NMAH Coordinator of “Work in Progress” lecture series, NMAH, 1988 - 1995.
  • “Workers and Managers” a series of evening programs including symposia and films on the changing relationship between labor and management; December 1989 - February 1990, Carmichael Auditorium, NMAH, co-organizer.
Awards, Honors, and Special Recognition: 

The G. Wesley Johnson Prize, for outstanding article in Public Historian, National Council on Public History, 2001.

Professional Affiliations: 
  • Society for the History of Technology
  • National Council on Public History


Smithsonian Treasures of American History. New York: Collins, 2006.

Companion book to the Treasures of American History exhibition, featuring more than 150 objects from the NMAH collections.

Smithsonian Treasures of American History. New York: Collins, 2006.
"Washington City Museum," Public Historian, Fall 2004.
"Bringing Sweatshops into the Museum," with Harry Rubenstein. In Sweatshops USA, Richard Greenwald and Daniel Bender, eds., Taylor and Francis Books, Inc., New York, 2003
"Industrial Photographs," in At First Sight: Photography and the Smithsonian, Merry Foresta ed., Smithsonian Press, summer 2003.
“Hillotypes: A Sad Tale of Invention,” Photographic History, Spring 2000, Vol. 24, No. 1, p. 52.
"Experiences from the Front Line: Presenting a Controversial Exhibition during the Culture Wars," Public Historian, Vol. 22 No. 3, summer 2000, p. 67–86.
Between a Rock and a Hard Place: A History of American Sweatshops, 1820– Present, with Harry Rubenstein. UCLA Asian American Studies Center, Los Angeles, Calif., 1999.
"What Do We Keep?" with Steven Lubar. Invention and Technology, Spring 1999, vol. 14, no. 4, pp. 28–38.
"Elizabeth Brayer, George Eastman: A Biography. Book Review," Technology and Culture, October, 1998, vol. 39, no. , pp. 784–785.
"Between a Rock and a Hard Place: A History of American Sweatshops, 1820–Present," with Harry Rubenstein.  George Mason University Web Site. July 1998.
"Between a Rock and a Hard Place," with Harry Rubenstein. Labor's Heritage, Vol. 9, No. 4, Spring 1998, pp. 4–25.
"Seeking 'The One Best Way': Frank and Lillian Gilbreth's Time-Motion Photographs 1910–1924," Labor’s Heritage, Vol. 7, No. 2, Fall 1995, pp 30–61.
"Communicating Business: Corporate Agendas Through Photographs," Antenna, Vol. 7, No. 2, April 1995, pp. 4–5.
"Presenting History: Democracy on Display," Exhibitionist, Vol. 14, No. 2, Fall 1995, pp. 18–21.
"Lorraine Giordano, Beyond Taylorism, Book Review," Annals of the History of Computing, Vol. 16, No. 4, 1994, pp. 90–91.
"M. Susan Barger and William White, The Daguerreotype Nineteenth-Century Technology and Modern Science and John Wood (edited by), America and the Daguerreotype. Book Review," Technology and Culture, vol 34, no 2, April 1993.
"Albert Kingsbury," American National Biography, John Garraty, ed.
Who’s in Charge: Constructed Realities, et al, SITES, Washington, D.C. 1992.
"The Working People of Richmond: Life and Labor in an Industrial City, 1865–1920, Valentine Museum, exhibition review," Technology and Culture, vol 33, no 3, July 1992, pp. 564–570.
Cutting Tool Engineering, "History of Tools" series: "1989-1991: The Development of high-speed Steel", June, 1989; "Bicycle Wheels and Grinding Wheels", August, 1989; "The World’s Most Elegant Lathe", October, 1989; "Evolution of Drilling", February, 1990 ; "Threading Through History", August, 1990; "“The Milling-Machine Revolution", October, 1990; "“Hand Files", February 1991; "Gaging Change", March, 1991.
“J. B. Colt at Chautauqua,” Rittenhouse, vol 2, no 2, February 1988.