Monday, August 6, 2018

Rosie the Riveter at Yankee Air Museum

Just inside the Yankee Air Museum is a gift shop. I was delighted to see many Rosie the Riveter items: red and white polka dot bandanas/headbands; tank tops; mugs and thermal glasses; book bags; patches; magnets; lunch boxes; books, DVD's, and posters; and even Rosie action figures.  No tea or teapots though.  I could have spent lots of money - particularly on books and DVD's.

In the end my purchase was a $30 cookbook filled with wartime recipes and lots of great pictures.

The hallway to the museum [beyond the gift shop] is dedicated to Rosie.  If you live anywhere near Belleville, MI and are a Rosie fan, the Yankee Air Museum is a must see. Admission is $8 for children, seniors, and veterans, and $12 for adults over 18.  It's open Tues. - Sat. 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m., and Sunday 11:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.

I was born after the war, so I didn't develop an appreciation for everything 'Rosies' did to help win WWII until a couple of years ago.  My mom never talked about having a war time job after my dad was deployed to the South Pacific, and she's deceased now so I'll never know.  I found her wartime rationing book when I went through her things after her death.  

There's a huge Rosie the Riveter Honor Roll.

Below is an enlargement of what's in the center of the Honor Roll.
[Click on it to enlarge to read.]

Below is Governor Rick Snyder's 2014 Proclamation declaring March 29th as Rosie the Riveter Day in Michigan.  

A plaque inducting Michigan Rosies into Michigan Women's Hall of Fame as honorary members.

Pictures of Rosie gatherings at the Bomber plant in 2014, 2015, and 2017 when they took the Guinness World Record for the largest gathering of Rosies and 'tribute Rosie' [younger, non-WWII women, dressed as Rosies].

There's a spirited rivalry between Rosies who also gather at the WWII Homefront National Historical Park in Richmond, California [on the site of WWII Kaiser shipyards].  In 2016, they took the Guinness World Record with 2,200 Rosies.  And Willow Run took it back in 2017 with 3,755 Rosies [which included 57 original Rosies].

The California Rosie reunion will be in five days [August 11th], and they will probably reclaim the record.  Original Rosies are becoming fewer and fewer, but there are still some living because child labor laws were suspended during the war and millions of children were employed as young as 12 years of age.  I was amazed to have four Rosies at my assisted living presentation a couple of weeks ago.

A painting of Naomi Parker Fraley hangs in the hallway.  Naomi worked at the Naval Air Station in Alameda, California.  Her picture was taken by a United Press photographer [left below], and became the inspiration for graphic artist, J. Howard Miller, when he painted what later became the famous Westinghouse Electric poster bearing the slogan, "We Can Do It!"  

Naomi passed away in January of this year at 96 years of age.

[Internet Photo]

There were several other pictures honoring Rosies in the entrance hallway.

[Apologies for the reflection in the photo below - there was a large glass window behind me.]

Once inside the museum there was also a section devoted to some real-life Rosies:  Vina Greer, who came from Louisiana to work at the Willow Run plant.  [Click on article to enlarge]

A B-24 bomber wooden tool box used by Freda Head.

Riveting gun and airplane part to be riveted.

Notice the Rosie the Riveter sign behind the mannequin [above], and the close up below.  I tried to photograph each section for you to read.  I missed a couple sections, but got most of them.

Starting with the narrow left section first.  [Click on picture to enlarge.]

~ Center Section ~

I'll complete the right section tomorrow, as well as finishing up the rest of the Rosie area of the museum.  I'll also share WWII tea rationing.

I have great admiration for WWII Rosies.  The factories were hot, dirty, noisy, strenuous, and dangerous, and many of the women had never worked outside the home before, but they stepped up to the challenge.  Their patriotism and loyalty definitely merits recognition.

Do any of you have a mother, grandmothers, or aunts who were Rosies?


  1. Thank you so much for sharing. This is a wonderful display for all women!

  2. My Mother and Aunt were Rosies for a short while. They traveled to Detroit from central Kentucky for work, but didn't stay long. Bless 'em...


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