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Advertising Campaign

Description: 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 ( 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 Historical Park.

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 tapes.

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:

  1. Unflagging efforts of the National Park Foundation to make this work.
  2. Cooperation and constant communication between the partners.
  3. 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:

  1. Constant communication is the key.
  2. 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
Phone/Fax: 510-232-5050

Name: Rick Smith
Affiliation: Supervisory Park Ranger
Phone/Fax: 510-232-1544

Name: Jody Keating
Affiliation: National Park Foundation
Phone/Fax: 202-238-4203/202-234-3103

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 ___;

Other ____________________________

Prepared by: Rick Smith Date posted: 5/20/04
Phone: 510-232-1544

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1943 poster created by J. Howard Miller for the Westinghouse Corporation
Richmond Shipyard welder in protective gear
Norman Rockwell painting that appeared on cover of Saturday Evening Post May 29, 1943
 Rosie the Riveter World War II Home Front National Historic Park
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