Tag Archives: WPA

Putting People to Work: The WPA in Washington

Putting People to Work WPA
This exhibit was on display at the museum during 2010.

Franklin D. Roosevelt helped create a Democratic tidal wave that swept across Washington and the nation in 1932 during the depths of the Great Depression. He promised Americans a “New Deal.” After Roosevelt took office in March, 1933, each day brought dramatic new developments and agencies, including the Works Progress Administration, or WPA.

The New Deal in Washington took many forms, some as awesome as the Grand Coulee Dam, frequently described as “the biggest thing on earth.” The common thread running through many New Deal programs was jobs for the unemployed. Unemployed artists, laborers and researchers were all put back to work in their communities leaving behind a legacy of roads, bridges, murals and parks. Maria Pascualy, curator at the Washington State Historical Society, selected 30 photographic images from representative projects across the state and paired them with an essay by historian Carlos Schwantes. The Washington State Historical Society is a repository for the WPA Washington State photographic collection, the WPA Washington State Federal Writers Project manuscript Collection and the WPA king County Emergency Relief Administration Photographic Collection. This exhibit is from the Traveling Exhibit Service of the Washington State Historical Society.