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American Enterprise

Tractor in American Enterprise

American Enterprise chronicles the tumultuous interaction of capitalism and democracy that resulted in the continual remaking of American business—and American life. Visitors are immersed in the dramatic arc of labor, power, wealth, success, and failure in American 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.

New Perspectives Changing Exhibit

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.

Currently on display: "Forgotten Workers: Chinese Migrants and the Building of the Transcontinental Railroad." This display focuses on the Chinese laborers whose hard work and sacrifice made possible the completion of one of the nation’s largest infrastructure projects and an amazing engineering feat of human endurance. Objects on view will provide a detailed look into the daily lives of Chinese laborers, such as a pair of chopsticks, a mining pick and a laborer’s conical hat.

The next display, opening in late 2020, will feature eight barrier-breaking businesswomen and female entrepreneurs.

Visitor Guide

A self-guided highlights tour is available online in the following languages:

English | Español | Français | Deutsch | Русский | العربية | 简体中文 | 日本語 | 한국어

Exhibition Website

The exhibition's companion website gives visitors the opportunity to experience all of the objects and stories featured in American Enterprise—and more. Visitors can dig deeper into the history of business in the United States through blog posts, public programs, and other digital initiatives that explore the exhibition's core themes of opportunity, innovation, competition, and shared concern for the common good.