The Works Progress Administration (WPA) began May 6, 1935 and operated along with 40 other federal agencies to provide relief work. The WPA began in Pennsylvania in August 1935. In 1939 the agency became part of the Federal Works Agency and was renamed the Work Projects Administration.
This subseries documents the WPA projects initiated on behalf of the Museum. The first group of files contains material that relates to PMA projects in general or multiple department projects, including construction work. Following these files are ones specifically documenting educational, library, registrar and construction projects. The latter projects comprise the bulk of material in this subseries. With construction of new galleries and offices underway, most of the work performed for the other departments took place at Memorial Hall.
Correspondence files contain Kimball's communications with PMA staff and officers, PMA project supervisors, state and federal representatives of the WPA, and to a lesser extent local, state and federal government officials, and occasionally the White House and Harry L. Hopkins, the WPA administrator appointed by President Roosevelt. The general correspondence files also contain state and federal directives issued to all WPA participants as well as any correspondence making general reference to the "Museum Extension Project" or the "Professional and Service Projects." These designations applied to projects for the library and education and registrar offices, as well as to drafting and engineering work.
As outlined in Kimball's 1935 memo to Marceau, one of the proposed educational projects focused on hiring teachers and similar personnel to be available to give "real information to visitors." At the same time, these educators would man the floors, compensating for the cutback in guards. Another educational program documented here is the 1941 War Services Program for military personnel and civilians.
The work described in the two library projects files include reconditioning books, sorting and shelving miscellaneous material and developing a union catalog of art books. Completion of the library's reading room in the new museum was carried out as a WPA construction project, and its documentation is filed as such.
Projects involving the registrar consisted of cataloguing objects at Memorial Hall, the Museum, the Rodin Museum, and by 1938 the Park Houses. This process included classifying, cataloguing and photographing all objects. In addition, certain functions were carried out on behalf of other departments, such as cataloguing books for the library and photographing objects for use by the education department for lectures. Much of this material focuses on the workers, documenting their names, wages and job responsibilities.
Most of the construction project documentation deals with costs, including labor and material. Providing more of a narrative are the 1938 summary of construction projects and a "Brief History" of the projects undertaken between 1935 and 1937 and written by Kimball. Prominently represented in the early project years is the architectural firm of Trumbauer, Zantzinger and Borie. Proposals for later construction projects are included in the "Post-war planning" file.