Van Buren Township

Current Displays

Free, but donations are welcome! 

Rosie the Riveter lives on at The BAM
When Franklin D. Roosevelt mentioned the Arsenal of Democracy in one of his famous Fireside Chats, he was talking about Bomber and Munitions plants such as The Willow Run Bomber Plant.  Had it not been for the efforts of nearly 19 million women who went to work, World War II and life in America may have been lost. 

However there were three women who were featured in recruitment photos and movie advertisements that we now recognize as Rosie the Riveter: Naomi Parker Fraley, Mary Doyle Keefe, and Rose Will Monroe.  Naomi Parker Fraley was the inspiration for J. Howard Miller’s, “We Can Do It” Poster (1943), Mary Doyle Keefe, was the model for Norman Rockwell’s Saturday Evening Post cover (1943), Rose Will Monroe was a worker in the Willow Run Bomber Plant in Michigan, and was featured in promotional films produced by Walter Pidgeon for war bonds.   

While Rosie the Riveter was the nickname given to women who worked in the factories, we now recognize women who participated in the war effort on the home front in general as Rosies.  That could be a Red Cross nurses, Victory Garden sponsors, welders, axe-women, metal collectors, WAGS (Army), WAVES (Navy), WASPS (Air Force), WOW’s (Women Ordnance Workers), and more.

During World War II the Willow Run Bomber plant covered over 65 acres; it was almost a quarter-mile wide and a half-mile long.  It operated from 1941-1945 producing B-24 Liberators beginning in 1942, eventually boasting the completion of Bomber-A-Day and over 34,533 employees at its peak. 

For information on Rosie the Riveter, the American Rosie the Riveter Association, and the Willow Run Rosie or Willow Run Junior Rosie programs, please ask Director Dallos.

The Women’s Suffrage Room
Celebrates the history of the 19th amendment and the struggle for Women’s Right to Vote.  Come in, try on a hat, or full suffrage costume.  Complete the look with a Votes for Women sash and create a photo opportunity!  Learn a bit more about the movement, its origins, mascots, clothing choices, and our British counterparts aka The Suffragettes, along with key names in the fight for US Women’s Suffrage.  Who was for/against it?  How far have we come?  How much further do we have to go?

bench with shoes    hatsroom