On November 11, 2003, the Ford Motor Company (Ford), the National Park Service (NPS), and the National Park
Foundation (NPF) launched a partnership to support the Rosie the Riveter World War II/Home Front National Historical
Park, Richmond, California, in a nationwide effort to collect stories, authentic artifacts and personal histories from
living "Rosies," their families and all the men and women who joined the World War II home front effort.
Ford, a Proud Partner of the National Park Foundation, supported the effort through an initial $50,000 grant and a
subsequent grant of an additional $15,000 to the park. The funds are being used to collect stories and artifacts from
those who contributed to the U.S. war effort at home, which will be used in park exhibits and other educational
materials. The company also launched an advertising campaign through their ad firm that included a five-page
advertorial in Time Magazine, and advertisements in USA Today, Readers Digest, O Magazine, Ladies Home Journal, and
Better Homes and Gardens. Ford sponsored a public service advertisement that aired frequently on television, with
historic footage of Rosies at work, and in the background the song "Rosie the Riveter."
The response to the advertising campaign was overwhelming. Over 8,000 Rosies or their family members responded with
stories. Rosies called, emailed and wrote the park as well as submitted their stories on the Ford web site
(Ford.com/go/Rosie). Following initial contact with the Rosies, a nine page packet was sent to them. The packet
included a sheet outlining their history, questions meant to inspire their memories, an artifact donation sheet,
briefing sheets on the National Park Foundation, Ford and the Rosie the Riveter World War II/Home Front National
As the return packages came in, the archiving and cataloging became a major project. The park's authorizing
legislation requires that a distance learning center be established for the park, so digitization of the stories and
artifacts and oral histories will be a major future endeavor.
From this collection of stories, oral history candidates will be selected and interviewed as part of an ongoing
project with the University of California at Berkeley's Regional Oral History Office in which the oral histories of
Rosies who live in the San Francisco Bay area are being recorded. The project is a partnership between the UC Berkeley,
the City of Richmond, the NPS and the California Coastal Conservancy, which funded the first phase of the project.
About fifty videotaped stories will be produced from this initial round, including printed transcripts and digitized
Rosie the Riveter/World War II Home Front National Historical Park in Richmond, California was established in
October, 2000 to preserve the national stories, sites, structures, and areas located in Richmond, CA, that are
associated with the citizen, industrial, and governmental effort that contributed to victory in World War II and
changed America. Among its historic structures are Kaiser's Shipyard 3: the Kaiser Field Hospital and a first aid
station, two child development centers, a Victory Ship and an Albert Kahn-designed Ford plant that assembled jeeps
and prepared tanks for shipment overseas. The stories and artifacts collected through this initiative will be
incorporated into future exhibits, research centers and historic records, to bring to life the stories of those who
came together on the Home Front to win World War II.
Geographic area covered: The park site consists of multiple sites in Richmond, California on San
Francisco Bay and includes more than 150 acres.
List of partners and relationships: Ford Motor Company, the National Park Foundation, the City of
Richmond and the National Park Service.
Accomplishments to date:
Over 8,000 Rosies responded to the call, with about 6,000 stories collected as of April, 2004. About 3,000 have been
entered in the park's data base. Over 100 artifacts/memorabilia have been collected.
Key success factors:
- Unflagging efforts of the National Park Foundation to make this work.
- Cooperation and constant communication between the partners.
- National Park Service, NPF and Ford management stepping up to fund and provide services to meet the needs of the
program when response overwhelmed park resources. NPF and Ford taking over the phone calls in a call center allowed
this program to finally work.
Frustrations: Trying to get the program to deal with all home front participants, not just Rosies.
Review times for materials going out to the public were short, or not seen at all until they are published. The
website got a lot of review, but the TV ad wasn't seen at all by the NPS until it was broadcasted. Getting Ford's
public relations firm to understand how much time and effort had to go into dealing with Rosies. It took a while for
Ford and NPF to understand the impacts of the program on limited park staff and to agree on messages that met both the
advertising needs of Ford and the needs and objectives of the NPS and the park.
Most important lessons learned to date:
- Constant communication is the key.
- Plan for the most successful outcome, so you have the resources in place to deal with it. The park staff of four
couldn't handle the volume of phone calls that responded to the TV ads.
What would you do differently next time:
Set up a properly staffed call center from the start.
Suggested resource materials(related to the case study):
Information on the partnership can be found at the Rosie the Riveter Trust at
or on the Ford website at
For more information:
Name: Judy Hart
Affiliation: Superintendent, Rosie the Riveter/World War II Home Front National Park
Name: Rick Smith
Affiliation: Supervisory Park Ranger
Name: Jody Keating
Affiliation: National Park Foundation
Partnership category(ies) (check all that apply)
Fundraising __; Capital Improvement __; Facility Management __; Trails ___; Design __; Program Delivery __;
Visitor Services __; Tenant Organizations __; Concessioners __; Natural Resources Management/Restoration __;
Cultural Resources _X_;
Education/Interpretation _X_; Arts __; Information Services ___; Transportation __; Mutual Aid __;
Fire Management __; Planning ___; Tourism ___; Community Relations ___;
Prepared by: Rick Smith Date posted: 5/20/04