A City at Work: 1912 and 2012

December  06, 2012

    "A City at Work" is the title of a new exhibit opening Friday at the Dubuque Museum of Art. It features pictures taken in the city in 1912, with a similar set of photographs taken this year.

    Mike Gibson, from the Center for Dubuque History at Loras College, says in 1912 someone took hundreds of glass plate pictures of people working - in offices, hospitals, factories, and businesses. And the quality and resolution, 100 years later, is amazing.
    "You can take these and put them on the computer and blow them up and study what the brand names of things are in the grocery store, or you can see the price of a ham sandwich in the restaurant or lunch counter."
    Gibson says this year's pictures of people working in the city were taken by local photographer, Tim Olson, and as much as possible, he tried to find the same locations. One example is an operating room at Mercy Hospital, then and now.

    " It's a way for us to learn about people working 100 years ago. And by comparing those with photographs from today you can see changes in occupation, changes in working conditions, and how technology has changed things."

     In 1912, Peter Klauer, president of Klauer Manufacturing, bought the entire set of glass plate negatives, 423 of them. And his grandson donated the collection to the Center for Dubuque History in the 1980's.  "A City at Work: 1912 and 2012" will be on display at the Dubuque Museum of Art through mid-March.                     To view some of the photographs, go to www.acityatwork.com.