Profile

Harry R. Rubenstein

Chair and Curator

M.A., Museum Studies, George Washington University, 1983
M.A., American History, University of New Mexico, 1979
Bachelor of University Studies, University of New Mexico, 1974

Research Specialties: 

Labor, reform movements, and political history.

Projects: 

Current Projects:

  • Democracy in America
  • Documentation of contemporary political issues
  • Civil rights history

Past Projects:

Exhibitions:

  • Changing America: The Emancipation Proclamation, 1863, and the March on Washington, 1963, NMAH (in partnership with the Nationa Museum of African American History and Culture), December 2012 - September 2014: Co-curator
  • Jefferson's Bible, NMAH, Novemeber 2011 - April 2012: Co-curator
  • A Letter from George Washington, Novemeber 30, 1785, NMAH, February 2010-May 2010
  • Black History Month Case, White House, February 2010: Curator
  • Abraham Lincoln: An Extraordinary Life, NMAH, January 2009 - January 2011; Curator
  • Gettysburg Address, NMAH, November 2008 - January 2009; Curator
  • La Causa: The Delano Grape Strike of 1965-1970, NMAH, September 2005 - January 2006; Curator.
  • From Selma to Montgomery: The 40th Anniversary of the Voting Rights March, NMAH, March - September 2005, Curator.
  • Separate is Not Equal: Brown v. Board of Education, NMAH, opened May 2004; Project Director and Co-curator.
  • The American Presidency: A Glorious Burden, NMAH, November 2000 (permanent installation); Traveling version, Smithsonian Traveling Exhibition Services, February 2002–2005, Co-curator.
  • Communities in a Changing Nation: American Life in the 19th Century, NMAH, February 1999 (permanent installation); Co curator.
  • Between a Rock and a Hard Place: A History of American Sweatshops, 1820–Present, NMAH, April –November 1998; Simon Wiesenthal Center, Museum of Tolerance, November 1999–March 2000; Co-curator.
  • We the People: Winning the Vote, NMAH, September 1996“ October 2000; Co curator.
  • FDR, NMAH, September–November 1996; Curator.
  • UNITE, NMAH, August - September 1995; Curator.
  • Images of Steel, NMAH, October 1994–January 1995; Co curator.
  • Cesar Chavez, An Enduring Spirit, 1927–1993, NMAH, September 1993 - present; Co-curator.
  • Produce for Victory: Posters on the American Home Front, 1941–1945, Smithsonian Traveling Exhibition Services, July 1993–1995; at NMAH July 1995–present; Small-format version, 1994– present, Co-curator.
  • Who's in Charge: Workers and Managers in the United States, Smithsonian Traveling Exhibition Services, August, 1992–1995; Co-curator.
  • Workers & Managers: The Crises of Control in American Manufacturing, NMAH, October 1989 May 1990; Department of Labor, June October 1990; Co curator.
  • Badges of Pride: Symbols and Images of American Labor, Smithsonian Traveling Exhibition Services, March 1989 April 1991; Curator.
  • Symbols and Images of American Labor, NMAH, January September 1988; Curator.
  • “Which Side are You On?”: Organized Labor in America, NMAH, November 1986–January 1987; Curator.

Selected Public Programs:

  • “Mobilizing Consumers for Social Justice: Past, Present, and Future” A National Consumers League Colloquium co-sponsored with NMAH, at NMAH, May 20, 1999 Co-organizer.
  • “No Sweat University: Labor Standards and Code of Conduct,” co-sponsored with the Department of Labor, at NMAH, October 6 1998, Co-organizer.
  • “Wages and Jobs in an Era of Downsizing,u201D conference at NMAH, May, 1996, Co-organizer.
  • “Preserving Material Culture in Labor Archives and Museum,u201D conference at the George Meany Memorial Archives, November 1995, Co-organizer.
  • “Struggle for Justice: A Tribute to Cesar Chavez,” evening program at NMAH, September 1993, Co-organizer.
  • “Bread and Roses: Labor Traditions in Music and Art,” evening program at NMAH, September 1990, Co-organizer.
  • “Workers & Managers,” A series of evening programs including symposium and films on the changing relationship between labor and management, December 1989 February 1990; Co organizer.
  • “Ralph: Larger than Life on the Small Screen,” evening program at NMAH, April 1988, Co-organizer.
  • “A Century of Struggle: An Exploration of Work, Technology and Culture in Industrial America,” Program included conference, industrial craft demonstrations, music and film programs, NMAH, November 1986; Co organizer.
Awards, Honors, and Special Recognition: 
  • Federal Design Achievement Award, Presidential Design Awards, 1995 Presented for work on the exhibition, Produce for Victory: Posters on the American Home Front, 1941–1945.
  • Swedish Institute Grant, 1984. For the study of Sweden's contemporary documentation program, SAMDOK.
  • George Washington University Fellowship, 1981. Support for study at the National Museum of American History.

Publications

Abraham Lincoln: An Extraordinary Life, Smithsonian Books, 2008.
“Bringing Sweatshops into the Museum,” co-authored with Peter Liebhold. In Sweatshop USA, edited by Daniel E. Bender and Richard A. Greenwald, Routledge, 2003.
The American Presidency: A Glorious Burden, co-authored with Lonnie Bunch, Spencer Crew, Mark Hirsch, Smithsonian Institution Press, 2000.
“Good History is Not Enough,” Perspectives, Vol.38, No. 5, May 2000.
Between a Rock and a Hard Place: A History of American Sweatshops, 1820–Present, co-authored with Peter Liebhold. UCLA Asian American Studies Center and Simon Wiesenthal Center Museum of Tolerance, 1999.
Design for Victory: Posters on the American Home Front, 1941–1945, co-authored with William Bird Jr., Princeton Architectural Press, 1998.
“With Hammer in Hand: Working Class Occupational Portraits,” in American Artisans: Crafting Social Identity, 1750-1850, edited by Howard B. Rock, Paul A. Gilje, and Robert Asher, Johns Hopkins Press, 1995.
“Welcoming Workers,” Museum News, November 1990.
“Symbols and Images of American Labor: Dinner Pails and Hard Hats,” Labor's Heritage, July 1989.
“Symbols and Images of American Labor: Badges of Pride,” Labor's Heritage, April 1989.
“Political Repression in New Mexico: The Destruction of the National Miners' Union, 1933 1935,” in Labor in New Mexico: Strikes, Unions and Social History Since 1881, edited by Robert Kern, University of New Mexico Press, 1983.
“Smithsonian Santos: Collecting and the Collection,” in Labor in New Mexico: Strikes, Unions and Social History Since 1881, edited by Robert Kern, University of New Mexico Press, 1983.
“Political Repression in New Mexico: The Destruction of the National Miners' Union, 1933 1935,” in Labor in New Mexico: Strikes, Unions and Social History Since 1881, edited by Robert Kern, University of New Mexico Press, 1983.
“The Great Gallup Coal Strike of 1933,” co-authored with Richard E. Ahlborn, in Hispanic Arts and Ethnohistory in the Southwest: New Papers Inspired by the Work of E. Boyd, edited by Marta Weigle, with Claudia Larcombe and Samuel Larcombe, Ancient City Books and the University of New Mexico Press, 1983.