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Get in the Scrap! Featured Artifact: School Salvage Plan

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The boys and girls of America can perform a great patriotic service for their country by helping our National Salvage effort. Millions of young Americans, turning their energies to collecting all sorts of scrap metals, rubber, and rags, can help the tide in our ever-increasing war effort.

– Franklin D. Roosevelt

Wanted for Victory: Waste paper, Old Rags, Scrap Metal, Old Rubber

Wanted for Victory: Waste paper, Old Rags, Scrap Metal, Old Rubber

During World War II, American students were encouraged to take a share in aiding the war effort. Whether rationing food in short supply, growing a Victory Garden in their backyards, buying war stamps with spare change, and even criss-crossing their towns and communities to collect scrap. To students today, some of these activities might appear a little strange on the surface — Why did you recycle bacon grease? What is a bond and how did it pay for the war? How could all of that metal junk be used? They can answer these questions by investigating primary source artifacts, to understand how students like them made a difference and to make connections with the past by seeing themselves in it.

One great artifact to demonstrate how the country truly relied on the efforts of students is the ‘Get in the Scrap’ school salvage plan. Opening with the remarks of President Roosevelt above and by calling students ‘America’s Junior Army’ reinforced that the efforts of kids and teens were essential. Students were apart of the “Third Front. . . whose chief duty is to comb the entire Nation for the scrap materials that are absolutely necessary to keep our factories running– absolutely necessary for Victory.”

The pamphlet outlines a detailed plan to get school districts, administrators, teachers, and students involved; each an important cog in the machine to collect millions of tons of scrap. It also displays handy diagrams on how small household goods can be transformed into necessary items for the war. Explore some pages of the pamphlet below:

Teachers, feel inspired by what you see?
Your students can make a difference like students growing up in WWII by joining our Get in the Scrap! service learning program. With the support of the Museum and an easy-to-implement project toolkit, your students can complete fun and simple conservation and recycling activities that can translate into big results. Your school can even earn prizes by completing as many activities as possible before the end of the school year. Participation is easy by signing up at getinthescrap.org. More details to come!

Post by Chrissy Gregg, Virtual Classroom Coordinator

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