Friday, June 19, 2015

The National Youth Administration and Museums

(This WPA worker is cataloging shell specimens at the San Diego Natural History Museum in February of 1937. Photo courtesy of the National Archives and the New Deal Network.)

Like its initial supervising agency, the WPA, the National Youth Administration (NYA) assisted many museums across the country. For example, "NYA youth cataloged 1,123,000 museum articles in the fiscal years 1937 through 1942, and prepared or renovated 361,000 museum articles" (Federal Security Agency, War Manpower Commission, Final Report of the National Youth Administration, Fiscal Years 1936-1943, 1944, p. 175).

I wonder if some museums could use that kind of help today. And wouldn't a new NYA be great for many young men and women too, especially since "A substantial share of America’s youth remains economically disconnected, even as the economy continues to recover. More than one in eight—13.8 percent—of young Americans ages 16 to 24 are neither working nor in school..." (link). (The NYA provided employment to millions of Americans between the ages of 16 and 25).

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