Speaking of Work For Educators

Speaking of Work Movie Poster
Speaking of Work: The Iowa Labor History Oral Project

Iowa workers’ lives, on and off the job, have changed significantly over time, from the people and settings to the jobs themselves, in turn shaping Iowa as we know it.  Every Iowa workers’ story contains a unique perspective, which, taken together, give us insight into the lives of working people: what they did, the values they held, and the changes they collectively brought to their workplaces and communities.  We know a great deal about these stories in large part because of the Iowa Labor History Oral Project (ILHOP), which, for forty years, has been recording, preserving, and sharing them with the public. This exhibit introduces visitors to ILHOP, which has evolved from an oral history project started by the Iowa Federation of Labor into an ongoing project of the Iowa labor movement, UI Labor Center, UI Libraries, and the State Historical Society of Iowa. It tells the stories of Iowa workers with artifacts, images, interactive digital technology, and—most importantly—the words of workers’ themselves.

Exhibit Partners

This exhibit was developed by the University of Iowa Labor Center and the Iowa Labor History Oral Project in collaboration with the University of Iowa Old Capital Museum.

Extended Activities

Lessons coming in May 2017!

Discovery Trunks

The University of Iowa Museum of Natural History, Old Capitol Museum and the Office of the State Archaeologist have created a series of Discovery Trunks that are available for educators. Topics covered in these trunks are especially well suited to complement exhibits in the 2017 Mobile Museum. These trunks are a bonanza of teaching materials that provide hands-on activities and lessons that fit core teaching goals related to geology and culture history. The trunks are designed to develop scientific, cultural, and historical literacy for students of all ages. They are available to educators, homeschool groups, parents working with local AEAs, libraries, nature centers, and others engaged in educational programing. Reserve a Discovery Trunk here!

Suggested Reading

  • Audacity by Melanie Crowder. Penguin, 2015. 6th grade and up. This book tells the true story of Clara Lemlich who lead the largest strike by women in American history at the triangle shirtwaist factory.


Old Capitol Museum

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