Twentieth Century Settlers in the Blackstone Valley

This multi-media exhibit at the Museum of Work & Culture Highlights 20th Century

RIHS Panel 1 Immigration

Immigrants settled in the Blackstone Valley for many different reasons. Some left their native countries to find better jobs, while others were pushed to relocate by war, famine or civil unrest. But once here, they all had a common goal—to find work.

In this exhibit, you’ll find stories of 20th century immigrants who came to the Blackstone Valley to work in the mills, just as earlier workers did. You’ll also be introduced to the restaurateurs, merchants, religious leaders, and others who fueled the economy by providing services for local residents.

Life in an adopted community is not only about work, of course. It is also about creating a new home and community. New arrivals established social organizations to help fellow immigrants adapt to the United States and to preserve their unique ethnic traditions. When the next generation took leadership, these institutions often evolved to focus on local issues while still maintaining a social network based on a common cultural heritage. Many of their traditions persist.

Through the stories and images in this exhibit, you’ll meet these 20th-century settlers—the people who make our communities work.

Please note: Going to Work exhibit panels are for personal or classroom use only (no other copies may be made).