Friday, May 30, 2014

Accomplishments of the National Youth Administration (part 3 of 10): Museums

(A WPA poster by artist Angelo Tartaglia. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.)

Participants in the National Youth Administration worked in museums as "guides, assistants in mounting and casing exhibits, and catalogers. NYA youth cataloged 1,123,000 museum articles in the fiscal years 1937 through 1942, and prepared or renovated 361,000 museum articles. NYA youth assisted in organizing museums for grade and high schools. These were usually nature exhibits of local flora, fauna, and historical items." (Final Report of the National Youth Administration, p. 175).

On the grounds of the Witte Museum in San Antonio, Texas, National Youth Administration workers constructed a cabin that represents the the type of dwelling used by Texas pioneers ("Log Cabins and Historical Homes: Old San Antonio in the backyard").

Wouldn't it be nice to have a National Youth Administration today, to offer work, training, and recreational opportunities for unemployed young Americans? It would be a great service to them, and to us. 

***See recent op-ed by Gene Budig and Alan Heap, "Unemployment a Crisis for Youth: Good news for the economy doesn't translate to good news for young Americans" (USA Today, May 4, 2014).

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