We Can Do It!

Here is what we did in 2019.

Watch this page for information about the exciting things we are planning for the 75th Anniversary of the end of the Second World War.
August 10 & 11, 2010: We Can Do It!: Service on the Homefront in World War II

August 10 & August 11, 2019

Charlestown Navy Yard


Join us for this two day event commemorating the "Greatest Generation" during the tumultous war years.

Weekend activities will include tours and special exhibits, the Homefront Speaker Series, hands on history activities, a Big Band Concert, and a Sunset Swing Dance. See a Victory Garden, tour Rosie's Navy Yard, view vintage vehicles, and explore the World War II destroyer USS Cassin Young.

Swing Dancer couple in in 1940s clothing.
Swing dancing returns to the Navy Yard! Free lessons will be available before the live music and dancing on Saturday. More live swing will fill the air again Sunday evening!

Photo by Matt Teuten. Courtesy NPS

(All events are both Saturday and Sunday unless otherwise noted.)

Swing, Music, & Dance

  • Swing the Night Away!
    Saturday, Lessons from 6:00 pm - 6:30 pm, Dance from 6:30 - 9:00 pm - Tent
  • As the sun begins to set on the Charlestown Navy Yard, join Boston Swing Central and The Easy Winners to swing the night away!

  • The Mood Swings Orchestra
    Sunday, 6:30 pm - 7:30 pm - Tent

    Enjoy the swinging tunes of The Mood Swings Orchestra, an all female big band. Since 2003 the Mood Swings have been delighting audiences with their repertoire of swing music from the 1930s and beyond.

A Collage of five photographs depicting some of the activities found at the event

Hands-on History:

  • Hands on History Tent
    Saturday & Sunday - 1 pm - 5 pm

    Do you think you would have made a good Navy Yard employee in World War II? Try your hand making a worker badge, twisting rope, riveting, and more! Explore activities and games for little hands and the young at heart!
    Don’t forget to strike your best Rosie pose in front of the “We Can Do It” selfie station!

  • Vehicles for Victory
    Saturday and Sunday, 11 am - 4 pm - Pier 1 and 1st Avenue Come explore the different kinds of vehicles that were transported by Landing Ship, Tanks (LSTs). The men and women at this Navy Yard built 44 LSTs during World War II.
Two USS Mason Sailors on the pier near their ship in a snowstorm
USS Mason DE 529 was built in the Boston Naval Ship Yard in 1944.

Pop-up Exhibits:

  • Exhibit: Proudly They Served:USS Mason in a Segregated Navy

    Saturday and Sunday, 9:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.
    Navy Yard Visitor Center

    Discover why the crew of the USS Mason made history. A temporary exhibt remembers the African American crew.

  • Exhibit: Rosie Roll Call
Saturday and Sunday, 9:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.
Navy Yard Visitor Center

A new exhibit that shares the role, accomplishments, and personal memories of the over 8,000 women who lent a hand in the national war effort here at the Navy Yard during World War II.

  • Visit USS Cassin Young
    Saturday and Sunday, 10:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.

    Explore the main deck of this World War II Fletcher-class Destroyer! Look for SWON (Shipbuilding Women of the Navy) stations and learn about the vital role women played in building these ships. During World War II, over 80 destroyers and destroyer escorts were built by this Navy Yard.

Cover of the book "Beantown Girls"

Special Tours & Presentations:

  • Rosie’s Navy Yard
    Saturday and Sunday, 1:00 p.m., 3:00 p.m., and 5:00 pm, 60 minute ranger-led tours. Tours begin at the flag pole on Pier 1.
Over 8,000 women joined the workforce at the Boston Naval Shipyard to help win World War II. Join this free walking tour to explore their stories.

  • "Our Food is fighting" - Victory Garden Tours
    Saturday and Sunday, 11:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m., 30 minute ranger-led program. Program begins at the flag pole on Pier 1.
Rationing during World War II led to the creation of victory gardens to help support families on the home front. The National Park Service has replicated a victory garden on the grounds of the Commandant's House in order to demonstrate the sacrifices made at home during wartime.

  • War Paint: Beauty As a Weapon in World War II

    Saturday and Sunday, 11:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m., 45 minute ranger-led program. Program will be on Commandant's House lawn.

    This program will explain the link between war, morale, and makeup as Ranger Julia will talk about the importance of beauty and its role in propaganda in World War II. There will be a talk as well as a wartime makeup tutorial and a chance to make your own makeup using a rationed recipe from the time period!

  • USS Cassin Young Guided Tours
    Saturday and Sunday, 11:00 a.m., 12:00 p.m., 1:00 p.m., 2:00 p.m., and 3:00 p.m., 45 minute guided tour
See how these ships were built and learn about the men who served on board. FREE tickets are available first-come, first-served, aboard the ship. Visitors must be over 42” in height to participate in this tour. *Note: Ship activities may be canceled or modified due to weather and/or tidal conditions.

  • Fashion Ration
    Elizabeth Cole Sheehan, Clothing Historian and Costume Designer
    Saturday, 2:30 p.m., Navy Yard Visitor Center Theater
What to wear? How did WWII government regulation L85 change clothing options? With limits on fashion resources, people found creative solutions to style. Reduce, reuse, recycle: refashion.

  • V is for Victory: Boston's World War II Home Front
    Polly Kienle, Boston National Historical Park
    Saturday and Sunday, 11:00 a.m., Navy Yard Visitor Center Theater
World War II is now an historical event that ended almost 75 years ago. Nevertheless, there are people among us who lived on the Boston home front through this 4-year state of emergency. You are invited to explore Boston's home front and judge for yourself whether that world has a connection with today's city or whether it was a very different universe, specific to its time.

  • Womanpower on the Homefront in Lowell
    Allison Horrocks, Lowell National Historical Park
    Saturday, 1:30 p.m., Navy Yard Visitor Center Theater
At the onset of World War II, women in Lowell seized their chance to take higher paid, challenging work for the war effort. This talk will explore some of their stories.

  • The BEANtown girls
    Jane Healey, Author
    Saturday, 3:30 p.m., Navy Yard Visitor Center Theater
The Beantown Girls is based on the true stories of the Red Cross Clubmobile girls in the European theater of operations in WWII. In her talk, Healy will discuss the history of the Red Cross Clubmobile program in WWII, and how she wove that history into what ultimately became The Beantown Girls novel.

  • Rockwell Paints the Face of the Homefront
Thomas Daly, Curator of Education, Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge
Sunday, 1:30 p.m., Navy Yard Visitor Center Theater
Norman Rockwell put a human face on daily life with iconic paintings: "Four Freedoms", "Rosie the Riveter", "The Homecoming", "Home on Leave" and "Back to Civvies". Norman Rockwell Museum Curator of Education, Tom Daly, will speak about Rockwell's life and art.

  • Burlesque! Tassel Twirlers! Hot Dogs! Scollay Square in World War II
David Kruh, Author of Always Something Doing: Boston's Infamous Scollay Square
Sunday, 2:30 p.m., Navy Yard Visitor Center Theater
Burlesque! Tassel Twirlers! Hot Dogs! David Kruh's talk is a rollicking look back at Scollay Square, the first destination of the sailors whose ships docked at the Charlestown Navy Yard.

Dr. Jon Middaugh, Naval History and Heritage Command, Washington Navy Yard
Sunday, 3:30, Navy Yard Visitor Center Theater
Dr. Middaugh will discuss the Boston Navy Yard's involvement in the war effort on the home front.

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

Boston National Historical Park
21 Second Ave

Charlestown, MA 02129


(617) 242-5601

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