Emmy Lou Packard: Drawing New Conclusions in the Kaiser Shipyards
On Saturday, September 5th, Lincoln Cushing from Kaiser Permanente Heritage Resources will open an exhibition about the graphic art of Emmy Lou Packard who was employed by the Kaiser Shipyards during World War II in Richmond, California.
The World War II Home Front was truly a setting where “ordinary people did extraordinary things.” One of the best records of that dynamic period was the weekly Kaiser Richmond shipyard magazine Fore ‘n’ Aft, with news and stories of a war industry in which new workers were doing new jobs in new ways.
California artist Emmy Lou Packard (1914–1998) was on the Fore ‘n’ Aft staff and contributed approximately 100 illustrations. Packard’s work was patriotic without resorting to racist jabs or stereotypes; she portrayed workers with dignity and character. She drew women’s experiences from a woman’s point of view — numerous vignettes are of children (one of her regular subjects later in life), home life, and the challenges of survival and adjustment in a tempestuous time.
This exhibition features large reproductions of exemplary graphic art Packard made between 1944 and 1945, filling in a significant void in Home Front history, art history, and even of Packard’s own documented career.
The exhibition is curated by Kaiser Permanente historian and archivist Lincoln Cushing, and is sponsored by Kaiser Permanente in partnership with the National Park Service. Many of the images are from the Richmond Museum of History.
The exhibition is displayed in the lower level of the Visitor Center and will be available to the public through January of 2016.
The Rosie the Riveter Visitor Education Center is open seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and is located at 1414 Harbour Way South, suite 3000, Richmond, CA 94804. For more information and directions to the Visitor Education Center, please call (510) 232-5050 x0 or visit their website. Admission to the Visitor Center and all park sites and programs is free.
If you would like to receive information about upcoming park events, visit www.rosietheriveter.org and sign up for the email newsletter. The Rosie the Riveter Trust is the nonprofit association that is building a community of support for this national park.