We Can Do It with the Trust
Marsha Mather-Thrift remembers the days when she was the only official staff member at Rosie the Riveter Trust: “We’ve grown since then, now we have three staff members!” Marsha, who started in 2010, and her staff are a small and powerful team. Together with the National Park Service, its board of directors, and a variety of partners, the trust has a commendable mission in Richmond, CA and across the U.S.: inspiring youth and preserving history at Rosie the Riveter/WWII Home Front National Historical Park.
Visiting the Park
Located on the San Francisco Bay waterfront, Rosie the Riveter/WWII Home Front National Historical Park is a West Coast treasure — preserving the history of the Ford Assembly Plant, the Maritime Childcare Center, the Whirley Crane, and the Red Oak Victory Ship, among many other sites.
Rosie the Riveter/WWII Home Front National Historical Park is a partnership park; though the park is run by the National Park Service, it consists of multiple sites from different owners. These partnerships make the park possible, and these places keep WWII history alive. To further enhance the experience, visitors can enjoy free interactive exhibits and park films.
The park also offers “Rosie Meet and Greets” on Fridays. Visitors are given the amazing opportunity to hear real-life stories from a group of civilian WWII docents, now in their 90’s, who worked in the Kaiser shipyards and at other sites around the Bay Area.
This is an amazing opportunity for parkgoers, especially young women, to hear from pioneering Rosies. Many civilian women who worked in the defense industry or other home front jobs during WWII were known as Rosies. They came to the San Francisco Bay Area or Richmond itself from points all over the United States to expertly and efficiently perform essential jobs. Home front workers also included men, who did important strategic jobs, paved the way for disabled workers, and helped to integrate the WWII workforce along with the women.
Inspiring Future Generations
The Rosies’ stories are rich and honest, giving park goers a glimpse into a vital chapter of the nation’s history. That’s why the Rosie the Riveter Trust is dedicated to continuing to tell their stories. One way the trust does this is through their Rosie’s Girls program — a free, 6-week summer camp for middle school girls from local, low-income families in Richmond.
The camp teaches the girls to overcome challenges similar to those of a WWII Rosie — they learn welding and carpentry, discovering their own strength as they try jobs that are still considered unusual for women. The welding and carpentry instructors are both women, role models who offer mentorship and guidance to the campers. Participants unlock potential career opportunities, leaving the camp with new skills and new confidence.
Ensuring Great Work Continues
The National Park Foundation proudly provides the park with field trip grants, enabling more students to learn their local history. We’re also excited to partner with the Rosie the Riveter Trust as a pilot participant in the National Park Foundation’s Strategic Growth Initiative. A $30,000 grant will support the trust’s work with consultants to create a new strategic plan and to expand its board development.
This long-term planning will mean that the trust will be able to continue and to expand their work so that even more students and visitors can explore the wealth of sites preserved at the park.
As for Marsha, she’s most excited to see how the support of the National Park Foundation will help continue to transform the lives of the young girls who take part in the trust’s program and to reach even more visitors. Rosie the Riveter WWII/Home Front National Historical Park is just a short ferry ride away from San Francisco.
“My dream for Rosie the Riveter Trust is to see the Rosie’s Girls Program expand to the entire East Bay area, and be able to support the park in more school visits to bring the kids to be able to learn this important history.”
Women from across the country came together during one of the darkest times in modern history at this very place. They brought a “We Can Do It” attitude and a strength of spirit that continues to inspire those who hear their stories. By supporting park partners like Rosie the Riveter Trust, more students are able to #FindYourPark / #EncuentraTuParque and to learn the history of this incredible national park.