We can do it.
Of course we can.
We are Americans.
And during World War II, we can thank cultural icon “Rosie the Riveter,” representing the American women who worked in factories and shipyards during World War II, many of whom produced munitions and war supplies. Rosie was first introduced to Americans in the 1942 song of the same name. The song was recorded by numerous artists, including the popular big band leader Kay Kyser, and it became a national hit..
The Senator John Heinz History Center now examines how Pittsburgh affected World War II–and how the war affected our region–as part of the new major exhibition, We Can Do It! WWII. The 10,000-square-foot exhibit will explore Western Pennsylvania’s incredible impact on the home, industrial, and battle fronts during World War II.
Visitors to the We Can Do It! exhibit will learn about the development of the jeep, a uniquely American invention produced by the American Bantam Car Company in Butler, and reveal the stories behind “Rosie the Riveter” and the local Tuskegee Airmen whose contributions helped to turn the tide of the war.
Featuring more than 275 rare artifacts, four jeeps, stunning photography, interactive displays and immersive museum settings, We Can Do It! will bring the ’40s to life as the nation commemorates the 75th anniversary of the start of WWII.
Exhibition highlights include:
· Four new life-like museum figures of local heroes, including Gen. George C. Marshall, Tuskegee Airman Lt. Carl J. Woods, Iwo Jima legend Sgt. Michael Strank, and the Westinghouse Company-inspired Rosie the Riveter who will help to personalize the stories of WWII.
· A powerful “Hall of Industry” display featuring artifacts produced for the Allied forces by a variety of Western Pennsylvania companies, including (among others) Westinghouse, U.S. Steel, Dravo, Alcoa, MSA, Heinz, American Bridge Company and Zippo.
· Several artifacts and images on loan from the Smithsonian, including “Gramps,” a 1940 prototype Bantam Reconnaissance Car (BRC) that is the oldest known jeep in existence and a Curtiss-Wright Airplane Propeller, courtesy of the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum.
· A U.S. Army Air Corps uniform jacket worn by Jimmy Stewart, the legendary actor who became the first Hollywood star to enlist in the military.
· Immersive museum settings including a recreated living room from the outset of WWII when Pittsburgh families would gather to hear President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s popular radio addresses known as “fireside chats”
· A special Veterans Voices room featuring recordings from Western Pennsylvania WWII veterans and 7,000 recreated dog tags suspended from the ceiling.
The We Can Do It! WWII exhibit is included with regular History Center admission: $15 for adults, $13 for seniors (age 62+), $6 for students and children (age 6-17), and free for children (age 5 and under) and History Center members. The exhibit closes on January 3, 2016. For more information, click heinzhistorycenter.org.