American Enterprise will continue to grow as the museum collects new objects and stories. The exhibition's "New Perspectives" case, located in the Global Era section, will highlight new acquisitions and interpret old collections in novel ways.
The Only One in the Room
Getting to the top in business is always tough, and for women tougher yet. While women are inventive, driven, and great managers they often face discrimination and cultural boulders blocking their path. For the few women that do get to the highest levels, on arrival they often find themselves alone—the only one in the room. Here are the stories of eight strong women who made it to the top.
The construction of the Transcontinental Railroad was an engineering feat of human endurance, with the western leg built largely by thousands of immigrant Chinese laborers.
In the late 1990s the advent of GPS-based location-tracking technology and computer analysis launched an agricultural revolution. U.S. farmers began using the new technology to “see” bigger variations within their fields and animals than they had ever imagined. Information became a new crop of the 21st century, making farmers more efficient and sustainable but increasingly technologically dependent.
Black Main Street: Funding Civil Rights in Jim Crow America
Black businesses provided a vital foundation for African Americans at a time when violence and racial segregation structured public life in the South. Black storefronts provided safe spaces for political organizing; they also provided profits that helped sustain black community institutions and fund the struggle for civil rights. This case explores this dimension of U.S. history through the lives of two historical figures: Harold Cotton, who owned and operated Bob’s Hat Shop in Greensboro, N.C., from 1953 to 2005, and Marjorie Stewart Joyner, who supervised the training of thousands of African American beauticians as vice president of the Madam C. J. Walker Company.
Starting Up: The Tucker Sedan
Great ideas do not always lead to successful businesses. In 1948 automotive entrepreneur Preston Tucker promoted a futuristic car to enthusiastic consumers. The car featured many safety and technological innovations. Fifty-one automobiles were eventually produced, but the company struggled as it tried to set up factory production. While Tucker sought investment capital the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) investigated the company’s financial practices, and the business failed. Was Tucker overly optimistic, thwarted by government intervention, or just a poor manager?