- This event has passed.
A peddler calling “Junk man! Any rags, any bones, any bottles today?”
The clatter of cans pouring into a baler.
The grinding of a building-sized car shredder.
The whistle of a cargo ship carrying obsolete computers to sorting facilities around the globe.
These are the sounds of scrap recycling: an industry that turns waste into raw materials, has given millions of people a livelihood and a community, and has propelled American industry and innovation for centuries.
For over 200 years, discarded metals, rags, paper, and animal hides have provided economic opportunities for immigrants and native-born Americans who collected, stored, brokered, and sold them – scrappers. The work was grueling, scrappers were stigmatized, and the industry was criticized as a source of social and environmental ills. Still, generations of individuals and families gravitated toward the work—including many Jewish scrappers, who made up seventy to ninety percent of the industry for at least half of the 20th century.
Extend your learning by:
– Visiting the Scrap Yard: Innovators of Recycling website created by Jewish Museum of Maryland.
– Reading one of the books about scrap, recycling or climate change suggested by Milwaukee Public Library.
Click here to plan your visit to see Scrap Yard: Innovators of Recycling.
Comprehensive virtual tours and creative workshops are available to support this exhibit.
Contact Ellie Gettinger for more information.
$9 for Adults, $8 for Seniors, $6 for Students, Children under 6 Free
To submit an event for consideration, click here.