General Museum Hours of Operation:
Wednesday - Sunday
12:00 - 4:00 pm

2730 Historic Decatur Road, Suite 103
San Diego, CA 92106
Phone: (619) 233-7963
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© 2019 by the Women's Museum of California

Heroines on the Home Front

June 07 - September 29, 2019

With husbands and fathers called into the military, women held families together and adapted to wartime demands and shortages. Eight thousand ration boards across the country oversaw the restricted availability of rubber tires, gasoline, shoes, sugar, meat, butter and coffee.


San Diego’s women collected scrap iron, rubber, old newspapers. They planted victory gardens and harvested the produce, canning what they couldn’t eat. They scrubbed clothes by hand on washboards when washing machines gave out and couldn’t be replaced.

The influx of war-related migrants caused a severe housing shortage in San Diego, and women sought shelter in converted garages and boarding houses.  Some working mothers shared housing and child care, arranging shifts to accommodate needs. The YWCA housed about a hundred women in their residence facility, dealt  with emergency, financial, and health problems and maintained a nursery for working mothers.

Like women all over the country, San Diegans suffered the anguish that followed the dreaded visit from military personnel bearing news of death or injury.  “Heroines on the Home Front” chronicles the experiences and expectations of Americans and the offered myriad opportunities for heroic behavior.