Work, Fight, Give: American Relief Posters from WWII

Work, Fight, Give: American Relief Posters of WWII offers a wide-ranging collection of original relief posters and memorabilia that provides an exciting new window on understanding a watershed event in our nation’s history. Work, Fight, Give is the first exhibition to challenge our traditional memory of World War II, putting relief efforts at the forefront through an array of visually exciting poster art, poster stamps (known as “Cinderellas”), photographs, banners, and programs issued by the various relief agencies and by the National War Fund—an agency created by Franklin Roosevelt in early 1942 to consolidate the hundreds of relief agencies that sprang up to aid those countries and peoples devastated by war.

This is not the story of courage in combat, not the story of the dropping of bombs, rarely the story of rattling machine guns or the bursting of artillery shells; rather, it is the story of those motivated to do something about the carnage and chaos left behind when the din of battle subsides and the armies move on. Relief organizations in big cities and small towns alike found creative ways to mobilize Americans and collectively raise millions of dollars to help those in war zones.

Work, Fight, Give focuses on those who gave of their artistic talents to design posters that were aimed at the heart of Americans, to persuade citizens to donate their time and resources. Many of America’s top artists and illustrators designed the relief posters, and they often employed historical, mythological, and cultural symbols representing various countries and cultures. From the regional sensibilities of Grant Wood, to the illustrative style of Arthur Szyk, to the painterly styles of James Montgomery Flagg and Martha Sawyers, the posters branded and differentiated various agencies all competing under the National War Fund name. Both the artists and the agencies were proud of their posters, which frequently became the face of an agency’s fundraising efforts. In addition to the posters themselves, this exhibition offers context of the posters in action, through images of the artists, along with agency leaders, movie stars, well-known personalities, or simply volunteers proudly showing off their posters.

The poster imagery employed by the National War Fund and its relief agencies, today rarely seen and largely forgotten, will allow the viewer to experience this stupendous effort to aid those in need in a visually and intellectually exciting venue. While the exhibition is historical, the material will be new to most viewers. It is as well contemporary (temporal) and reveals a universal theme—we are “our brother’s keepers.” Work, Fight, Give serves as a powerful reminder of the continuing need for philanthropy in a tumultuous world, and how the greatest generation met that challenge.

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Work, Fight, Give: American Relief Posters of WWII will tour February 2017 through January 2022. The dates below reflect five-week exhibition periods. Dates are subject to change; please contact or (800) 473-3872 x208/209 for current availability.

  • February 3–March 10, 2017
  • March 25–April 30, 2017 Fort Morgan Museum
    Fort Morgan, CO
  • May 15–August 16, 2017 MacArthur Museum of Arkansas Military History
    Little Rock, AR
  • September 1–October 5, 2017
  • October 21–November 30, 2017 Bell County Museum
    Belton, TX
  • December 15, 2017–January 19, 2018
  • February 3–March 25, 2018
  • March 25–April 30, 2018 Dane G. Hansen Museum
    Logan, KS
  • May 15–June 20, 2018
  • July 5–August 16, 2018 Edmond Historical Society & Museum
    Edmond, OK
  • September 1–October 5, 2018
  • October 21–November 30, 2018
  • December 15, 2018–January 19, 2019
  • February 2–March 10, 2019
  • March 25–April 30, 2019
  • May 15–June 20, 2019
  • July 5–August 16, 2019
  • September 1–October 5, 2019
  • October 21–November 30, 2019 Santa Fe Trail Center Museum
    Larned, KS
  • December 15, 2019–January 19, 2020 Refurbishment
    Kansas City, MO
  • February 3–March 10, 2020
  • March 25–April 30, 2020
  • May 15–June 20, 2020
  • July 5–August 16, 2020
  • September 1–October 5, 2020
  • October 21–November 30, 2020
  • December 15, 2020–January 19, 2021
  • February 3–March 10, 2021
  • March 25–April 30, 2021
  • May 15–June 20, 2021
  • July 5–August 16, 2021
  • September 1–October 5, 2021
  • October 21–November 30, 2021
  • December 15, 2021–January 19, 2022

Exhibition Details

Thirty-nine original posters, two poster stamps, one decal, one work of art, one object

  • Content

    Fee Includes:
    Press Kit
    Registrar’s Packet
    Programming Guide
    Gallery Guide
    Text Panels
    Narrative Labels
    Full Insurance
    Installation Instructions
    Custom-Designed and Built Crates

  • Curated By

    Hal Wert, Ph.D., professor of history, Kansas City Art Institute, Kansas City, MO

  • Organized By

    ExhibitsUSA, Mid-America Arts Alliance, Kansas City, MO

  • Out-of-Region Rental Fee


  • In-Region Rental Fee

    $1,300 before July 1, 2017; $1,820 after July 1, 2017

  • Duration

    Five-week display

  • Shipping

    Van Line

  • Running Feet

    Approx. 170

  • Square Feet


  • Security

    Moderate B

  • Number of Crates/Total Weight


  • Insurance

    The exhibition is fully insured by ExhibitsUSA at no additional expense to you, both while installed and during transit.