In The News

La Salle ‘Work’ exhibit will debut Wednesday

This article originally appeared in the The Times.

“Waterways that Work” — the first of three Smithsonian Institution-related exhibits, will open Wednesday, April 4, at Lock 16 Visitor Center, 754 First St., La Salle.

The exhibit — which will run through Thursday, May 24 — will focus on the arrival of the Illinois & Michigan Canal, the Cal-Sag Channel, the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal, and how the Illinois Waterway helped define work in La Salle County.

No admission will be charged for the exhibit; Lock 16 hours are 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Call 815-220-1848 to learn more.

“Waterways That Work” is part of “The Way We Worked,” a traveling Smithsonian exhibition that explores how work became such a central element in American culture. The exhibition draws from the National Archives’ photographic collections to illustrate how work has shaped our modern society and built communities.

The exhibit will be on view at the Ottawa Historical and Scouting Heritage Museum, 1100 Canal St., Friday, April 13, through Thursday, May 24. Admission to the exhibition will be $3 for adults and $2 for youth.

The three concurrent additional exhibits in La Salle County include:

  • “The Way La Salle County Worked” exhibit at the La Salle County Historical Society Museum, 202 E. Canal St. Utica. Visitors can take a self-guided tour of work in La Salle County. Ten exhibits about La Salle County industries will be featured.
  • “The Way Peru Worked” exhibit at the Peru Pubic Library, 1409 11th St. Visitors can take advantage of this opportunity to explore a portion of the Peru Library’s local history collection.
  • “The Way We Worked Locally” at the Ottawa Historical and Scouting Heritage Museum located at 1100 Canal St., Ottawa, explores the way Ottawa worked.

A special opening program at the Reddick Library, 1010 Canal St., Ottawa, will feature Bob Bruno, University of Illinois-Chicago professor of labor and employment relations, 7 p.m. Thursday, April 12. Bruno will discuss his book “Justified by Work,” which explores the role faith and religious observance play in the everyday lives of working people.

In addition, visitors can discover the work history of La Salle County through 18 “local work-related” programs at various locations throughout the county and two additional exhibits in Utica and Peru. For more information about “The Way We Worked” exhibit or the additional programming and exhibits, visit or call 815-223-1851.

“The Way We Worked” has been made possible by the Illinois Humanities Council, the Canal Corridor Association, the local coordinating entity for the Illinois & Michigan Canal National Heritage Corridor and the Ottawa Historical and Scouting Heritage Museum.

An exhibit created by the National Archives, “The Way We Worked” is part of Museum on Main Street, a collaboration between the Smithsonian Institution and State Humanities Councils nationwide.

Support for Museum on Main Street has been provided by the U.S. Congress.

The Canal Corridor Association, is a nonprofit group that preserves history, protects nature and open space, and creates destinations where people can learn and have fun in the I&M Canal National Heritage Corridor from Chicago to La Salle-Peru. Its website is