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Subject: Work
SUBJECT:
Work
Most workers in Britain are employed in the service industries. The number of Britons working in manufacturing dropped by almost a quarter in the 1980s and then kept falling. But through new technology and efficient practice the manufacturing sector has managed to survive foreign competition and in many cases firms still prosper. Yet the changes in employment and production have transformed and sometimes dislocated individual lives, creating both crises and opportunities. The systems used in manufacturing are evoked in the Museum’s collections, which range from an early Model T Ford made on one of the first production lines, to a 1950s valve-based Pegasus computer used in the insurance industry for twenty years. From coal-mining villages in Britain to the city of Hollywood, throughout the world entire communities with their own ways of life have developed around single industries. Whether coal or movies, the relationships shaped by work affect life in general. And already new models of work now emerging in computer-rich offices, are yielding their own cultures and communities.
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In the twentieth century, the factory line has come to symbolise mass production. How has it influenced life in such different places as Hollywood, California, and Dagenham, Essex?  > more
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The harsh reality of the mining life created a culture that emphasised self-reliance, team spirit and mutual strength. With the collapse of deep-coal mining in Britain coal culture is now in decline and may even disappear.  > more
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The phrase 'time is money' was coined by Benjamin Franklin at the start of the Industrial Revolution. But was this obsession with time really the fault of industrialists?  > more
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Commuting by railway has not only allowed us to get to work on time: it has also created new communities. How has this situation changed as the car has taken over from the train, and what is the future for the commuter?  > more
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Is maths beautiful or is it just a complete pain? Should we make the effort to explore its intellectual pleasures or should just find a quick fix to get the calculation done?  > more
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Building and running the railways required huge numbers of people, who formed themselves into tight-knit communities, forging new identities that gave meaning not just to their own lives, but to those of their families as well. This topic examines the lives of the engineers who designed the railways, the navvies who built them, the men and women who worked on them, and the ‘railway towns’ they made.  > more
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The human sciences have come to understand people either as a ‘Puzzle Solvers’, ‘Tool Users’ or ‘Story Tellers’. Sometimes in conflict, sometimes in harmony, these three models continue to inform contemporary debates about what we are – and what we can become.  > more
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New technologies have increased our expectations of our homes: that they should be cleaner, more comfortable, more beautiful and more entertaining than ever before. While we enjoy this higher standard of living, we often treat new technologies and materials with suspicion.
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