Browse Exhibits (59 total)

The World War I American Homefront

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The United States was not directly involved in the First World War for the first couple years, but that does not mean that Americans were not heavily devoted to the cause and effected by what was called “The Great War.”  The American WWI home front is often overlooked due to a focus on WWII’s history.  This first world war, however, has many similar aspects that the home front would see in about twenty years with the emergence of the second world war.  The United States saw heightened patriotism, propaganda, rationing and bond, volunteerism, and increased women in the workforce during this period.  It is no coincidence that these similar concepts were seen on the WWII home front. Women, who are often seen as sitting back while the men went and died and fought, were actually heavily involved in the fight.  They and their children sacrificed their time and money to benefit not only the Americans, but the United States’ allies overseas who were fighting in an unprecedented kind of war.  Sacrifices on the American homefront made victory in Europe possible. 

Jacob Riis, A Muckraker in the Gilded Age

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Jacob Riis did his best to expose the brash living conditions of the poor in the New York slums but the resulting changes that were made may have done more to rearrange the face of the problem than to solve it. 

One Type of Man

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The first I heard of Indian Boarding Schools was through my intro-level social work class. We discussed the later repercussions that these schools had on its students and the Native American population as a whole. The population deals with heavy substance abuse and addiction due to their lack of identity to their tribes. This sensation is felt because many of their parents and grandparents attended boarding schools in their youth and lost much of the knowledge of their heritage. For these reasons, I find it necessary that there is more education to the general public about the Indian Boarding Schools and their effect on the Native American populations today. 

The focus is on Richard Henry Pratt, the school he created called Carlisle Indian Industrial School, other schools across the nation, and stories from past Carlisle students.

Through these pages, there will be an emphasis on the processes and motives behind the cultural assimilation of Native Americans through Indian Boarding schools as cultural genocide of a native population. The fingers are pointed at the United States government, especially the Bureau of Indian Affairs, as well as Colonel Richard Henry Pratt as the creator of the Carlisle Indian School. With these two forces combined, though not always with the same beliefs, created a cultural genocide of the Native American population. 

I'M GOING TO COLLEGE! The Expansion of the Great American University


Welcome to the exhibit “I’M GOING TO COLLEGE! The Expansion of the Great American University”!

This collection looks at the growth of the American University system from a few small, ivy covered liberal arts colleges to a massive network of thousands of schools. It looks at the experiences of traditional upper and middle class students as well as the growing number of women and African American college students. The mass growth in education was both driven by and provided for a new  professional workforce. This helped to bolster the emersion of the middle class and “white collar” work. But university study wasn’t only about carving out a place in the American economy; it was about expanding the experiences of freedom for previously excluded minority groups like women and African Americans.

Created By: Manon S. Steel

Interstate Commerce Act of 1887


     After the end of the American Civil War, in 1865, the United States went through an economic and industiral change the world had not seen before. As the country was recovering from a nation wide divide, their were opportunities to advance the country in almost every way. American business, as we know today, was born during this period setting the foundation for the the industrial powerhouse the country would become. A key factor in this economic expansion was the mass migration out west. Thousands of people around the world looked to inhabit these rich lands and create a better lives for themselves and their families.

     The US began to develope extremely rapidly as families looked to settle down and take advatange of these rich lands they lived on. As all these events began to transpire, issues arose that the the US government had not fully dealt with before. Up until this point, government regulation on private busines was practically non exisent. The federal government left business regulation up to the states as their was not a demand for a large regulation over private business affairs. This all changed when the federal government in 1887 introduced the Interstate Commerce Act. The Interstate Commerce Act introced regulation of business spreading out west and created a precednt in United States law that let federal government interfene in interstate commerce. 

Early Crime to Prohibition in NYC

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The United States of America during the Gilded Age was a major time of modernization and urbanization. Immigrants were coming to America with hopes of finding quality work, new opportunities, and a stable economy. As major cities developed in industry and socialization, so did the less fortunate sides of urban growth. Crime became rampant throughout the country but most notably in major cities.

New York City saw widespread changes as a result of immigrants flocking to the city. Many people brought their criminal societies from their home countries and instituted illegal practices in America. Ultimately, this assisted cities in growing quicker than what the government could support. But this also led to major changes in the types of crime that were being committed and how to police would try to counteract these problems.

Crime during the Gilded Age played an essential role in developing the culture of early urban America. Through the presence of organized crime and corruption, poor immigrants found a way to implement themselves into the growth that cities were experiencing. Together, these things provided a greater understanding for policing between 1877-1920 and ultimately the adoption of prohibition in 1920.

Created by: Melissa Downer

The Presence and Effects of the American Mafia During Prohibition: Noah Andriani

During Prohibition, many forms of bootlegging and organized crime took place, but one of the most notorious gangs in all of history controlled bootlegging and all of the things that came with it. This gang was called the American Mafia or La Cosa Nostra. The Mafia was made up of mostly Italian immigrants who fled Italy when Prime Minister Benito Mussolini took control of Italy in 1919. This exhibit will explain what some of those Italian immigrants did in order to make quick money and survive in America during the days of Prohibition. Three major people involved with not only other Mafia operations but with all of the major bootlegging done during the 1920's and early 30's was Charles "Lucky" Luciano, Al Capone, and The Purple Gang. Throughout this exhibit I will be exploring the presence of the Mafia, more specifically the presence of the three people that were listed. The three mobsters changes the way the Mafia operated and stamped themselves into history for their notorious crimes of bootlegging

The Pendleton Civil Service Reform Act


The way that the United States’ government operated drastically changed after the Pendleton Civil Service Reform Act of 1883. The non-reformists in the legislative branch tried their best to hold onto the patronage system that had provided them with immense fortunes. The bill only proposed that ten percent of the federal government workers be hired on merit, but that small percentage quickly changed the course of history. In quick time it grew to encompass almost every significant position in the federal government. The merit system protected these classified workers from job instability due to their political standings. The Act also protected the wages and well being of these classified employees by excluding them from being coerced into patronage. No longer were they required to pay assessments to their superiors. The Pendleton Civil Service Reform Act made sure the right people got the job eventually. The act also set the precedent for the future which led to many more sectors of the government receiving similar protections and requirements for entry.


Photojournalism: A Sign of the Times

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While the many specific doings and happenings of 1880s-1920s America aren't well-known to the average American citizen, the term "Gilded Age" is widely known to describe this period. So what exactly does "Gilded Age" mean? Gilded is defined as "something covered in gold," so one would assume this means that 1880-1920 was a prosperous time for the country... which it was. Billionaires like Andrew Carnegie, John D. Rockefeller, William Vanderbilt, J.P. Morgan, and many others became pioneers and tycoons of their respective industries; propelling American business and technology to heights that had never been seen before. Everything sounds perfect, until you delve a little deeper into how the average American truly lived during The Gilded Age. Industries weren't the only entities to see drastic technological growth; advancement in photography techniques led to photojournalism. Publications like Life Magazine and The New York Times used photography to truly show the disparity and differences between the lives of Americans... photos that would inspire reform for working class citizens all over the country, reform that is often overlooked when discussing the Gilded Age.