"Working in Southern Illinois"

In October and early November  of 2011 Carbondale Community Arts and the University Museum of SIU Carbondale  hosted the Smithsonian Museum on Main Street Exhibit, "The Way We Worked". Throughout the month CCA also partnered with galleries and museums across southern Illinois to present "Working in Southern Illinois", a series of exhibits and programs highlighting the history and development of southern Illinois' workforce. (Click here for more about The Way We Worked and other Smithsonian Institution Museum on Main Street opportunities.)


In preparation for the exhibit, co-chairs Gayle Klam and Mary O'Hara worked with University Museum Director Dona Bachmann and curator Nate Steinbrink to gather hundreds of photographs and conducted scores of interviews with area residents.

Carbondale-based highlights of the six week project included

  • a panel discussion about the future work in southern Illinois,
  • a special presentation about the history of the southern Illinois migrant community,
  • a focus exhibit on the Good Luck Glove Factory,
  • an exhibit of paintings by Robert Ketchens depicting the Missouri Sharecroppers Strike of 1939, and
  • a special exhibit at the African American Museum of Southern Illinois about the Ayer and Lord Railroad Tie Plant

 Other regional exhibits were coordinated through the Southern Illinois Association of Museums (SIAM) and its member organizations.

Many of Working in Southern Illinois photographs that were exhibited at the University Museum will be on display from mid-April through May in the atrium of Carbondale's University Mall. 

Detail from Robert Ketchens painting in Sharecroppers' Strike ExhibitDetail from Robert Ketchens painting in Sharecroppers' Strike Exhibit   Visitors at "The Way We Worked" during University Museum openingVisitors at "The Way We Worked" during University Museum opening



If you missed us in October  -

Stop by the Center Atrium at Carbondale's University Mall (in front of main entrance to J.C. Penney) to see an encore presentation of images from Working In Southern Illinois.  The exhibit will be in place through the end of May and includes historic photographs from the railroad, coal mining, manufacturing, and service industries in the region.


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