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Press Release

August 27, 2019

Contact: Jason Harris
Chisholm Trail Museum, Oklahoma Historical Society
Office: 405-375-5176

Chisholm Trail Museum to Feature Lewis Hine Photography Exhibit

KINGFISHER, Okla. — The Chisholm Trail Museum in Kingfisher will host a traveling exhibit of photography by Lewis Hine from September 3 to November 22, 2019. “Child Labor in Oklahoma: Photographs by Lewis Hine, 1916–1917,” sponsored by Oklahoma Humanities, is a traveling exhibit from the Oklahoma History Center curated by Theresa Bragg, Jim Meeks and Lori Oden. This exhibit highlights a collection of 25 powerful photographs taken by Lewis Hine while he was in Oklahoma more than 100 years ago.    

Lewis Hine was able to capture the soul of the child laborer in North America in the early 1900s. He mainly focused on major cities, but took brief trips to other parts of the country to document child labor, including Oklahoma. Hine photographed in Tulsa, Oklahoma City, Lawton, Shawnee, Okmulgee, Sulphur and a few other small communities in the state.   

In 1938 President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Fair Labor Standards Act into law. The National Child Labor Committee, founded in 1904, had finally accomplished its first goal. Hiring Lewis Hine in 1908 to document child laborers was pivotal to their cause. He was one of the first photographers to utilize the medium to document the human condition in order to make positive changes. Hine once said, “If I could tell the story in words, I wouldn’t need to lug a camera.”

Although his photographs moved the nation to create child labor laws, Hine died in poverty and unrecognized in 1940. Decades later his life’s work would become synonymous with social reform documentary photography. 

An exhibit catalogue also is available for free while supplies last. This program is sponsored in part by Oklahoma Humanities (OH) and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this program do not necessarily represent those of OH or NEH.  

The Chisholm Trail Museum and A. J. Seay Mansion are located at 605 Zellers Ave. in Kingfisher. For more information, please call 405-375-5176.

The Chisholm Trail Museum is an affiliate of the Oklahoma Historical Society. The mission of the Oklahoma Historical Society is to collect, preserve and share the history and culture of the state of Oklahoma and its people. Founded in 1893 by members of the Territorial Press Association, the OHS maintains museums, historic sites and affiliates across the state. Through its research archives, exhibits, educational programs and publications the OHS chronicles the rich history of Oklahoma. For more information about the OHS, please visit www.okhistory.org.


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