In less than two weeks, The Way We Worked, a traveling Smithsonian Institution exhibit, will open in Pell City at the Center for Education and Performing Arts (CEPA).

The five-week exhibition, which opens July 19 at 10 a.m., will explore the way Americans worked over the past 150 years. The Pell City Works Committee has been developing a massive local exhibit that will surround it, featuring old photographs, artifacts and historical narratives of the way residents of Pell City and other south St. Clair County towns worked.

“Our committee has been working hard to make this a signature event for our city and our region,” said Project Director Pam Foote. “We think visitors will be surprised at the depth and creativity of our exhibit, and we hope they will enjoy exploring our city’s and our country’s history along with us.”

Special events are being held throughout the exhibition period at CEPA and the Pell City Library, kicking off a few days before the exhibit opens. The exhibit will run through Aug. 23.

“Assistant Library Director Susan Mann, along with CEPA Artistic Director Kathy McCoy, have done an incredible job putting together a series of free events that follow our theme,” Foote said. “We hope everyone will join us for these entertaining and engaging programs. And, of course, The Way We Worked is free and open to the public as well, thanks to a partnership of Alabama Humanities Foundation and the Smithsonian.”

Exhibition hours are Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. There will also be extended hours on three Saturdays — July 19, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; July 26, 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. prior to a performance by Alabama’s master storyteller, Dolores Hydock; and Aug. 23, 8 a.m. to noon.

For more information about the exhibition and events, go to pellcityworks.org.

Following are the events planned in conjunction with this exhibition:

July 16

Songs and Stories from the Porch (Noon at the Pell City Library)

In days gone by, folks gathered on the porch at the end of day. Step back in time as we share the music and memories of the way we worked with special stories by our very own including:  

Avondale Mills by Sarah Love Rast.

Pell City Grocery by Betty Turner.

On the field and beyond by retired head football coach Pete Rich.

And the music you’ll remember by Michael Barber and friends.

July 19

Exhibition opening ceremony (10 a.m. at CEPA)

The public is invited to a ceremony to commemorate the exhibit opening. Following welcoming remarks and a ribbon cutting, the exhibition officially opens. Pell City Players theater troupe will be dressed in period costume in roles of key figures in Pell City’s history. Throughout the exhibit, an Alabama Public Television-produced video of oral histories from 25 Pell City citizens will play continuously on the big screen in the theater.

July 22

Farm Day (10 a.m. at the Pell City Library)

Enjoy special story time as we celebrate the way we worked on our farms with our young readers at the Pell City Library. Also, enjoy a display of old-time farming implements.

July 26

Dolores Hydock (7 p.m. at the CEPA Center Theatre)

Alabama’s Master Storyteller presents a special program on Norman Rockwell. He didn't just paint pictures; every picture he painted told a story. In this presentation, she shares surprising stories from Rockwell's life and career and describes "the way he worked."

July 29- 31

Alabama Robotics Technology Park Mobile Lab (8 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily)

This mobile lab will be in front of CEPA each day. See how we work now and in the future with robotics technology in action. Demonstrations and tours will take place throughout the day.

July 30

Flower Arranging 101 . . . and more (Noon at the Pell City Library)

Experience now and then with Pell City Flower and Gift Shop. For three generations, the Pell City Flower Shop and the Hollis family have shared our community’s happiest moments and our deepest sorrows. Cindy Luby will demonstrate the fundamentals of flower arranging, and Bob Hollis will share the history of the shop and special work memories along the way.

Aug. 6

The Life and Times of Coach William Glover (Noon at the Pell City Library)

Join us as we celebrate the life and legacy of retired Pell City High head football coach William Glover.  Be on hand to welcome him back to Pell City and hear his story!

Aug. 13

“Fiddlers, Banjo Players and Strawbeaters:  Alabama’s First Pop Musicians” (Noon at Pell City Library)

Special guest lecturer and Alabama Humanities Foundation Road Scholar Joyce Cauthen will expound on the contributions of old-time fiddlers to their communities — their daytime work and nighttime music — and highlight local musicians and the early fiddles played by them. Mrs. Cauthen’s husband, Jim, will play the fiddle, performing period songs, backed up by Mrs. Cauthen on the guitar, banjo or broom straws.  

Aug. 18-20

Ag in Action Trailer (8 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily at CEPA)

Farming is an integral part of the way we worked and still do. This mobile learning lab will be in front of the CEPA building featuring videos, computer stations, farm games and interactive learning stations.

Aug. 20

Books, Blue jeans and Bluegrass (Noon at the Pell City Library)  

Join in a celebration of books, blue jeans and bluegrass as Avondale Denim Day will be commemorated with live music, sweet tea and camaraderie!  The program will also serve as the finale for the annual Adult Summer Reading program at the Pell City Library. The entire community is encouraged to wear denim in honor of one of the traditions at Pell City’s grandfather industry, Avondale Mills.

Aug. 23

Closing Day

For its final day, the exhibition will be open at CEPA on Saturday from 8 a.m. to noon.