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Communities in a Changing Nation: The Promise of 19th-Century America

Communities in a Changing Nation

Communities in a Changing Nation: The Promise of 19th-Century America explored the nation’s history through the experiences of three different communities: industrial workers and managers in Bridgeport, Connecticut; Jewish immigrants in Cincinnati, Ohio; and slaves and free blacks in the low country of South Carolina. Some 400 artifacts, photographs, illustrations, and personal recollections revealed the challenges, successes, and constraints faced by the people of these communities in their pursuit of freedom, opportunity, and equality.

The exhibition featured:

  • a time clock from the 1890s
  • union trade cards and badges, from the late 1880s.
  • tags used to identify enslaved people and free Blacks in South Carolina
  • a model of a cotton gin used by Eli Whitney in lawsuits against those he believed had infringed on his patent
  • a gavel presented to women's rights leader Susan B. Anthony by the National American Suffrage Association.