Galleries are a quick way to view a range of themes in Frontier to Heartland.  Each gallery presents eight related images and links to the image collection.

Food, Farming, and Community

The way we grow food crops and raise animals have changed radically over the past 300 years. The original inhabitants of central North America grew field crops like corn, and they also gathered wild rice, maple sap for sugar, and hunted a variety of animals. European settlers brought different farming styles, family structures, and material expectations linking agriculture ever more closely to distant markets and consumers. In the 20th century, machines replaced human and animal labor on the farm, making the farms of central North America among the most productive in the world, but also undermining rural communities.

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Waterways

The Great Lakes and the Mississippi, Missouri and Ohio River Systems have long served as avenues of transportation, as sources of fresh water, and as convenient places to dump the leftovers of human enterprise. The collection allows visitors to consider the state of the region’s waterways before large-scale European settlement, and the impact of urbanization of lakes and rivers.

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Working on the Railroad

Railways have stitched together central North America since the 1850s. They were the largest organizations of the time, managing complex flows of commodities, people, and information. Farmers, workers, and manufacturers relied on railroads, and many communities were literally created by railroad companies to serve the industry. Not surprisingly, railroad companies became the object of great protest as well as a subject of fascination and romance.

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A Woman's Place

Over the past three centuries, one of the most profound changes in our society has been the movement of women toward a fuller inclusion in political life. With this change, women’s economic and social roles have also changed dramatically. None of this came with out conflict and debate. Is a “woman’s place” in the home, or wherever she wishes to be? Images in the collection offer window on to women’s roles in particular time periods, and the conflicts that arose around women’s voting rights and sexual liberation.

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Protest and Free Speech

Protest is an everyday aspect of democratic societies, and our collection includes a number of images documenting economic, cultural, and political conflicts. Ranging from efforts to secure women’s legal and voting rights in the 19th and early 20th centuries, to the African American Freedom Movement of the 1960s, these documents offer opportunities for visitors to consider the ways activists have justified their causes, and the reactions they drew from opponents.

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Performing Culture

Putting on a costume is the simple act at the heart most commercial entertainment. Whether the performer is on a stage, or playing the piano among family and friends, they usually speaking words written by someone else, words designed to create a specific image of the world. Some performers pretend to be someone else, others perform aspects of their own culture that they no longer use in everyday life. Either way, cultural performances shape how audiences view the world, even as audiences bring their own ideas to the performance.

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