Applications accepted beginning Monday, February 15, 2021 through Friday, March 19, 2021

In celebration of March "Women's History Month," the museum is celebrating with a "Rosie the Riveter" look-a-like contest.  Rose the Riveter was allegorical cultural icon of World War II representing the women who worked in factories and shipyards during the war effort.  Many of these women produced munitions and war supplies.  People often ask if Rosie was a real person.  The verdict is still out.  But the most credible claim on her identity came from Naomi Parker Fraley, who was photographed working in the machine shop at the Naval Air Station in Alameda, California.  In the 1942 photo, she is sporting a telltale polka-dotted bandana. 

The Rosie the Riveter persona came to symbolize American feminism and women's economic advantage.  The most enduring image embracing this persona came that same year in the form of poster by artist J. Howard Miller (below), titled "We Can Do It" depicting a woman flexing her muscles and wearing a polka-dot red bandana and thought to be inspired by the Fraley photograph.   And in 1943, artist Norman Rockwell created a Rosie the Riveter image for the cover of the Saturday Evening Post.   Miller's 1942 poster image, however, is the one that stuck.   Even today Rosie the Riveter has come to symbolize female activism, determination, and entrepreneurship by women's rights groups, feminists, and activists. 

CONTEST RULES:  Email us a photo of yourself in your best "Rosie the Riveter" look.  In addition to the photo, send a short paragraph on the impact "Rosie the Riveter" had in America during World War II and what her legacy means today.  Send your submissions to

On March 20, 2021, the museum will announce the contest winners by reading the top three essays and showing the photos that go with them.   The announcement will be made via Facebook Premier.   Type in questions or comments during the program in the Facebook comments section.  

This pre-recorded Facebook Premier program will be broadcast on the NMUSN Facebook page on the date and time indicated above.   If anyone has any problems accessing the museum's Facebook page, or if you have a question for the speaker, please send an email to

"We Can Do It" by J. Howard Miller would become the most recognized representation of Rosie the Riveter. Courtesy of the National Archives.