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[BKARTS] WPA Museum Extension Project Exhibition

Broward County Libraries Division's (Ft. Lauderdale, Fl)
Bienes Center for the Literary Arts 
The Dianne and Michael Bienes Special Collections and Rare Book Library


WPA Museum Extension Project, 1935-1942, Government Created Visual Aids for Children from the Bienes Center's Collection, Oct. 20, 2005-April 30, 1006

The exhibition features 90 items, including puppets and marionettes; architectural, transportation, and industrial models; dioramas; printed materials; silk-screened posters; textiles; miniature furniture; and costume plates.

Items in the exhibit are part of the larger WPA Museum Extension Project (MEP) Collection at the Bienes Center -- the only known collection of its kind that includes more than 750 texts and objects.

During the Great Depression, President Franklin D. Roosevelt created the Works Progress Administration (WPA) to provide jobs for thousands of blue- and while-collar workers. The Museum Extension Project, among others, represented the first time the federal government employed vast numbers of white-collar workers and artists to create material for the public good. 

As part of the WPA, the Museum Extension Project was formed to help public schools and other tax-supported public institutions obtain visual education aids that were used to teach children about culture and society. The main objective was to produce graphic and three-dimensional representations of society's efforts to house, feed and cloth itself. Items also depicted decorative arts, methods of transportation and the development of natural-resource industries, such as coal and oil.

The Bienes Center's MEP holdings are part of a larger collection of WPA-New Deal materials, which includes an outstanding group of WPA Federal Writer's Project publications donated by Ft. Lauderdale resident, Jean Fitzgerald, in 1986. A local library supporter with a continuing interest in the WPA, Fitzgerald and his wife, Carol, served as a catalyst behind the Bienes Center's 1998 acquisition of its first MEP artifacts.

A printed catalog to accompany the exhibition will be available in January of 2006.

James A. Findlay
Broward County Main Library
Bienes Center for the Literary Arts
The Dianne & Michael Bienes Special Collections and Rare Book Library
100 S. Andrews Ave.
Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33301 USA
954-357-8692 (voice)
954-357-6762 (fax)
jfindlay@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx (e-mail)

Broward County Libraries Division
(A Service of the Broward County Board of County Commissioners)

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