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How We Worked

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Smithsonian Traveling Exhibition at Priest River

A traveling exhibition from the Smithsonian Institution will open at the Beardmore Block in Priest River on September 10. The exhibition, sponsored by the Priest River Museum & Timber Education Center and the Rex Theater Foundation, in cooperation with the Idaho Humanities Council, will explore how work became a central element in American culture.

 “The Way We Worked” traces the many changes that have affected the workforce and work environments over the past 100 years. Through a variety of means—interactive components, clothing and artifacts, photographs, graphics and more­­—the presentation assigns cultural meanings and puts workers and their own communities in a larger context. Related public programming will include educational programs for K-12 students, public events and lectures, including an opening presentation by Keith Petersen, State Historian and Associate Director of the Idaho State Historical Society.

In conjunction with the traveling exhibit, Priest River will present a companion exhibit dealing with how its own community has traditionally worked, focusing on the timber industry. As part of that presentation, a forum of longtime loggers is expected to discuss their work experiences in the woods at a roundtable discussion. 

“We are very pleased to be able to bring “The Way We Worked” to Priest River,” said Brian Runberg, Beardmore Block owner and director of the Rex Theater Foundation. “It allows us the opportunity to explore this fascinating aspect of our own region’s history and we hope it will inspire many to become even more involved in the cultural life of our community.” Runberg, Dawn Bushnaq, and Diane Mercer are the people directly responsible for bringing the exhibit to Priest River, although many community members are involved. 

The traveling exhibit will move on to McCall when it closes in Priest River on October 22, then on to Coeur d’Alene, Burley, Twin Falls, and Bonners Ferry in turn. The companion exhibit will stay in Priest River.

“The Way We Worked” is just one of the Smithsonian’s traveling exhibits which connect millions of Americans with their shared cultural heritage through a wide range of art, science and history exhibitions. To learn more about the Smithsonian Institution’s Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES), visit www.sites.si.edu.

For more information about the exhibition in Priest River, contact Mercer at mercrd@frontier.com, 448-2530 or (208) 691-3591; or Busnaq at dawb@bushnaqstudio.comm (206) 963-6306. 

Photo: Jean Schnelle pulls weeds out of a planter while balancing her six-month-old son, Dwight, on her hip.” By Michelle Bogre, Lockwood Missouri, ca. 1978. Used with the permission of the National Archives, records of the U.S. Information Agency.

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Marylyn Cork

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Homepage, Headlines, history, Priest River, The Way We Worked, Smithsonian, Idaho State Historical Society, Brian Runberg, Beardmore Block, Dawn Bushnaq, Diane Mercer

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