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WWII-Era Child Care Building Again Welcomes Children

Rosie the Riveter WWII Home Front National Historical Park

National Park News

The Maritime Child Development Center in Richmond, California, part of Rosie the Riveter/World War II Home Front National Historical Park, was built in 1943 as a federally funded childcare center to serve the families of shipyard workers. After an $8 million historic restoration and a grand reopening celebration in September, the building is open once again.

The structure now houses the kindergarten and first grade classrooms of the Richmond College Prep School, the offices of the Richmond Community Foundation, and a wartime preschool classroom, with exhibits featuring the original doll beds, large wooden blocks, and child-sized tables and chairs that were salvaged from the center before renovation. Visitors will learn the story of the center's innovative curriculum, child development theories of the time, and the social role that childcare facilities played in the WWII home front effort by enabling mothers to join the workforce without worry about who would care for their children. Ownership of the building was recently transferred to the Rosie the Riveter Trust, the park's nonprofit partner.

The restoration is one of five capital projects supported by NURVE, the Nystrom United Revitalization Effort, whose stakeholders include the City of Richmond, West Contra Costa Unified School District, Contra Costa County, the Richmond Community Foundation, the East Bay Community Foundation, Bay Area Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), the National Park Service, Coronado, Santa Fe and Iron Triangle Neighborhood Councils, the Rosie the Riveter Trust, community-based and nonprofit organizations, and community residents.

Grand reopening ceremonies featured greetings from the Mayor of Richmond; Joan Davis, the CEO of Richmond Community Foundation; Jane Bartke of the Rosie the Riveter Trust; Peppina Chang, principal of the Richmond College Prep School; and the superintendent of the park. Several former directors of the school attended, and children delighted the audience with vocal performances and Mexican folkloric dance.

Rangers will begin guided tours of the exhibit in November. Click on the link below or call 510.232.5050 x 6600 if you have questions.



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