A Visit to the National Girl Scout Museum

Last Friday my Girl Scout troop took a day trip to New York City. One stop was GSUSA and the National Historic Preservation Center. None of the nine girls and two co-advisors had ever been to headquarters, so I was looking forward to showing them around.  I’m also very happy that co-advisor Sylvie Warren brought her camera and took these wonderful photos!

After a very early morning bus ride from Bethesda, Maryland, we explored Times Square and Rockefeller Plaza, then headed south on Fifth Avenue to 37th Street, the main entrance to GSUSA at 420 Fifth Avenue.

, Girl Scout History Project
Entrance to 420 Fifth Avenue

I had reservations for a 2 pm tour, and lunch at 1 pm in the GSUSA cafeteria on the 11th floor. There I ran into two NHPC staff members, consultant Martha Foley and Senior Archivist Yevgeniya Gribov, who would be giving our tour.

, Girl Scout History Project
Yevgeniya Gribov and I.

After lunch, we headed up to the 17th floor for the National Historic Preservation Center. Yevgeniya greeted us in the lobby (where the girls quickly spotted the large jars of GS cookies). She told us the history of NHPC and led us into the document storage room. Although we could only look, not rummage through the boxes at will, it was still a treat. I made sure the girls realized that as many times as I’d done research at NHPC, I’d never been into the secure room before!

Next, we went into the museum portion of NHPC, where I introduced the girls to Chief Strategist Pamela Cruz and Archivist Diane Russo.

Then we had time to explore the historical displays. My troop has been to the Nation’s Capital archives on several occasions, but there were plenty of items they had never seen before.

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But their favorite part was watching The Golden Eaglet, a silent promotional film made in 1918. The girls decided they should start saluting their leader, like the girls in the film.  I have no problem with that.

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, Girl Scout History Project
Troop 2890 was here!

Most of my troop is in the 11th or 12th grade and will be heading off to college soon. If nothing else, I know they understand that there is far more to Girl Scouting than just our troop. They’ve worked with other troops, been to day and resident camp, Rocked the Mall, visited Rockwood, and one even worked with pandas in China on a Destination trip. They also know about the women and girls who came before them, and how the Girl Scouting has responded to social change.

They are the newest generation in a long line of courageous, strong women, and our movement is lucky to have them.

Published by

Ann Robertson

Ann Robertson is a writer, editor and Girl Scout historian.

22 thoughts on “A Visit to the National Girl Scout Museum”

  1. i have a girl scout sash from my childhood probably in the 40’S. This is from troop 41 in Charleston Missouri . I earned 20 badges, and knowing how difficult and how much time went into those badges, I hate to just throw the sash away..I wrote to GSOA, and was directed to you be a Mr. Garret someone..Please let me know at gabbyandnona@gmail.com if you would be interested in having it..
    Thanking you for your time, I remain, sincerely
    Virginia Thompson Wright

  2. I have 2 dolls one Brownie one girl scout. I received them as birthday presents in 1957 or 1958. Would u be interested in having them for the museum?

  3. I have a complete uniform & several accessories from the mid to late fifties and includes the G.S. Handbook. I would like to donate all of it. Interested?

    1. Absolutely, Martha! You can mail them to GSCNC Archives and History Committee, 4301 Connecticut Ave. NW, Suite M-2, Washington DC 20006. Thank you!

  4. I have my mother’s Certificate of Membership from February 1942 – good condition. I would like to donate this.

  5. I have Girl Scout photos that were my mom’s from the late 1930’s and early 1940’s. She grew up in Philadelphia and I was wondering if you accept pictures from that time.

  6. I have my mother’s uniform (tunic and bloomers) from the 1920’s, plus a handbook from late 1950’s. Would you accept these? Is the address still Connecticut Ave. in Washington, D.C.

  7. I have a brochure of the Mecklenburg County Girl Scouts Presents “Volunteers for Victory” from April 14, 1944 from Charlotte North Carolina. I recently found it going through my mom’s things! This was when my mom was in Girl Scouts.

  8. Sorry, I forgot to finish my comment. Is this brochure of any interest to you? If so, I would be happy to mail it!

    1. Harriet, I would be delighted to accept the brochure. I’ll “send it home” to the proper North Carolina council. For now, mail to GSCNC Archives, 4301 Connecticut Ave NW M-2, Washington, DC 20006.

  9. I have my moms Girl Scout uniform from the 1930/1940’s with hat. It is in great condition and didn’t know if we could donate it to the museum. She was in a troup from Malden, Ma. She is now 94. If so, please let me know where to send it.

    Thank you,
    Lauren Brown

  10. Hello this is Mary Ann Fraley from Ohio currently living in Deer Lodge, Montana. I am downsizing in order to move to a living center near my daughter in Colorado. I found my Mariners uniform, my mothers leaders uniform for the Mariners and the Girls Scouts. I believe they are from the late 1940’s. Would you be willing to take they for your museum?

    1. Hi Mary, thank you for writing! I would be delighted to find a home for your Mariner uniforms. Since council offices are closed due to the corona virus, it would be best to send to my home: 9500 Briar Glenn Way, Gaithersburg MD 20886. Everyone loves to see the bright blue Mariner dresses!

  11. Hello: I have a junior girl scout uniform from back in the 60s when I was a scout in Spokane Washington. The group was Inland Empire. I have the dress, beanie, bow tie, and sash of badges. Please let me know if you would like to have it for the museum.

  12. Could you direct me to the Girl Scout council nearest Northfield, IL? I’d like to see if they’d like my sash/badges/pins from the late 60s, early 70s. Thank you!

  13. I also have a complete Mariner uniform from the 60s. Ship 5 in Chevy Chase, Maryland . Can you use it?

    1. The original idea was to have troop camping on the smaller site. But problems with separating units and upset neighbors made it a no go. About five years ago neighbors succeeded in banning tents for weddings, bat mitzvahs, etc. Current situation is NOT the fault of the parks staff.

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