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Hope in Hard Times

The Great Depression profoundly affected Washingtonians. Many citizens took to the streets in protest, joining with fellow activists and grassroots political movements to rally for solutions to economic crisis. Others survived by forming small communities called “Hoovervilles,” in which homeless men lived while hunting for work. Other Washingtonians made it through tough times by making the best of what they had, recycling and reusing everyday items while looking ahead at the promise of better days.

Humanities Washington’s traveling exhibit Hope in Hard Times: Washington During the Great Depression explores the adversity and triumph of everyday Americans during the 1930s, comparing the struggles of the 1930s with those faced today. Personal experiences illuminate the broader themes of the exhibition, enlightening audiences about how people lived during these difficult times.

This special exhibition invites visitors to use the stories that they see within the exhibit to start conversations of their own about family histories and the impact this historical event had on their own lives or those of others.

The theme of hope woven throughout the narrative reminds viewers that they, too, can find their own opportunities for creating change and learn from the past.

The exhibit opens at Kirkman House on Friday, January 17 and runs until early April. A special members-only preview and reception will be held at the museum on Wednesday, January 15 at 5:30 pm.

Hope in Hard Times will visit eight communities during 2013-14, appearing for 12 weeks at each location. It is curated by the Washington State Historical Society and based on a larger exhibit of the same name that appeared at the Washington State History Museum in 2012.

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