On Saturday, January 19, 2013, the National Park Service at Fort Vancouver National Historic Site will launch two new exhibits on the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) and the Works Progress Administration (WPA) at the Fort Vancouver Visitor Center. The two complementary exhibits, on display until late March, explore how the WPA and CCC put the people of Washington State and Vancouver back to work during the Great Depression of the 1930s. The exhibits showcase historic photographs from the 1930s, CCC patches, architectural artifacts, and yearbooks.

Come to the FREE opening reception to enjoy interactive activities for kids and adults. The event will run from 12:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. inside the Fort Vancouver National Historic Site Visitor Center located at 1501 E Evergreen Blvd. Vancouver, WA 98661.

One of the two featured exhibits at the event, Putting People to Work: The WPA in Washington, 1935 to 1943, is a traveling exhibit created by the Washington State Historical Society. Thirty photographic panels tell the story of the WPA, a program that helped put Americans back to work.

“When we were initially developing our exhibit on the CCC history at Vancouver Barracks, we immediately thought of bringing the WPA exhibit to our site as a companion piece,” National Park Service Curator Tessa Langford said, “It is a first class traveling exhibit that for many visitors really captures this crucial period in the region’s history. Together, these two exhibits offer a picture of two programs that worked together to counteract the effects of the Depression.”

The second exhibit, curated by National Park Service staff, is Strong Forests, Stronger Communities: The Civilian Conservation Corps in the Northwest. This brand new exhibit uses a collage of artifacts, participatory activities, and media to highlight the successes of the CCC in Vancouver and beyond. In the 1930s, Vancouver Barracks, under the command of General George C. Marshall, served as the regional headquarters for the Civilian Conservation Corps, an important branch of President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal plan that employed unmarried men. A story of community engagement and positive efforts emerges from this engaging exhibition.

Strong Forests, Stronger Communities tells the story of the young men who came to the northwest to find work during a tremendously difficult time for our country,” said Museum Technician Meagan Huff, “But the CCC offered them more than just jobs – it offered them the chance to improve their lives through educational and recreational programs that restored in them a sense of belonging and community. The story of the young men who joined the CCC is just as relevant today as it was when the CCC was created, eighty years ago this year.”

What: Opening reception for two exhibits: Putting People to Work: The WPA in Washington, 1935 to 1943 and Strong Forests, Stronger Communities: The Civilian Conservation Corps in the Northwest

Where: Fort Vancouver Visitor Center, 1501 E Evergreen Blvd. Vancouver, WA 98661

When: 12:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Cost: Free!

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