EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA


August 22, 2013

'The Way We Worked' honors hard work Americans have done

Smithsonian exhibit on American workers' history comes to city


“There’s definitely a historical perspective to the Haverhill part of the exhibit,” said Jan Williams, curator of the Buttonwoods Museum.

Joe Fantini, a fourth-generation Fantini family member, runs the city’s biggest bread-making business, along with his brother Robert Fantini.

Joe Fantini said his family started its bakery business in Lawrence in 1902 and moved it to Haverhill around 1905. He said his bakery has been at the current location in Mount Washington since 1972 and employs about 130 people, 50 of whom have worked at Fantini for more than 15 years.

“Jobs are probably the most important thing we bring to the community,” Joe Fantini said. “We have tremendous people here and they’re the reason for our success.

“We’re happy to be part of Haverhill and it’s important for us to stay here, as most of our employees are from Haverhill,” he said.

Joe Fantini said photos of Fantini family members and workers from the past and which were displayed on the walls of the business will be on display at the museum as part of the exhibit.

“Hopefully people will enjoy it,” he said.

The Haverhill Historical Society/Buttonwoods Museum were chosen to host “The Way We Worked” as part of the Smithsonian’s Museum on Main Street project — a national/state/local partnership that brings educational exhibits to regional cultural organizations.

“As we approach Labor Day, it’s valuable for people to see photos of the way Americans worked in the past and produced goods and services,” Cleary said. “The local exhibition not only shows that shoes and leather were a significant portion of the Haverhill economy, but that other goods and services were and are still produced in Haverhill, such as bread, clothing and pianos.”

A 30-minute video of three residents talking about working in the leather and shoe industries is part of the exhibit, Cleary said. Those residents — Shirley Campbell, Colin Kennedy and Attorney Robert Harb — participated in filming at Haverhill Community Television.

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