Changes at National Girl Scout Museum

My research trip to GSUSA last week was cut short by Blizzard Jonas, but I was delighted to discover some interesting changes afoot.

For the first time in nearly 20 years, the National Historic Preservation Center (NHPC) is undergoing a major transformation. The museum has been emptied and a completely new exhibition is being staged.

The new exhibit is still a work in progress, but I will share a sneak peek.

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Entrance to 17th Floor Suites. (I bought a new patch with the same design.)

 

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Vintage uniform display along corridor to executive offices.

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Vintage Flash Lights Used as Pendant Lighting in Museum

 

NHPC Badges

Novel Way to Display Badges

My only disappointment was finding out that the 11th floor cafeteria had closed. I was really looking forward to the best grilled cheese in Manhattan.

I understand that regular staff probably grew bored with the cafeteria, but it was a wonderful attraction for visiting troops and researchers. It was affordable food, conveniently located near clean restrooms and the Girl Scout Shop – three selling points for any troop leader.  As a researcher, it was nice to have someplace in the building, where I could grab a quick lunch and not lose valuable research time.

At least from a visitor’s perspective, the cafeteria was a valuable resource that I’m sad to see eliminated.

©2016 Ann Robertson

 

 

Remembering Roundups

Before there were Destinations, before Wider Opportunities, Senior Roundups were often the highlight of a Girl Scout career.

These two-week encampments brought together high school-age Girl Scouts from around the country plus a few Girl Guides as well. They lived together in small groups, engaged in special programs and activities, and generally experienced the scope of the Girl Scout movement.

Four Roundups were held: 1956 in Detroit; 1959 in Colorado Springs; 1962 in Vermont; and 1965 in Idaho.

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The Roundups were before my time, so I asked a member of the GSCNC Archives and History Committee, Kathy Seubert Heberg, to share her memories:

Fifty years since the last Girl Scout Roundup! It’s hard to believe that much time has passed. Anyone who attended one of the Roundups knows what a wonderful experience it was.

I was thrilled when I received my selection notice in December 1961 for the July 1962 Roundup, scheduled for two weeks in Vermont!

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GSUSA President Olivia Layton calls Rounduppers to dinner in 1957 (GSCNC archives).

The excitement had been building since mid-May of 1961 when all the Washington Metropolitan Area Roundup applicants met for an orientation meeting. This included Senior Scouts from five Councils that were merging to become the Girl Scout Council of the Nation’s Capital – Alexandria, Arlington, National Capital, Northern Virginia, and my council, Southern Maryland. Each of these Councils selected their own representatives to Roundup; Southern Maryland was sending two patrols of eight girls each.

In early July, we formed initial patrols, elected patrol leaders, and started to meet on a regular basis. After a rigorous process, the Southern Maryland Council made their selections, and the two patrols were finalized. In the following months, we honed our camping skills and worked on our demonstration and swaps – we became a close-knit patrol and were ready to go. On the evening of July 17, 1962, all the area patrols gathered on the Washington Monument Grounds and received a grand send-off from family, friends, and Council officials. At that time, we each received a waterproof ID (think old-fashioned hospital wristband) that we wore at all times until we got back home.

We boarded three buses and headed north. We were excited, we talked, and we sang – there wasn’t much sleeping on the bus! We arrived late morning on the following day and located our patrol equipment and personal belongings. Tents, cooking utensils, and individual duffel bags, with all the important things – our clothing, swaps, stationery for letters home (this was long before cell phones!) – had been shipped a month beforehand.

We then headed to our designated spot to pitch camp. The entire encampment was divided by Section, Camp, and Troop, with each Troop containing four Patrols of eight girls each. All patrol items were marked with our specific number – 2F82. Each of us had an added number indicating our position in the patrol so all my clothing and personal items, for example, were marked 2F82-1. We settled in and met our Troop Leader, Jerry, and the other three patrols that made up our Troop – from upstate New York, western Illinois, and southwestern Minnesota.  We got to work building our patrol picnic table, which was a bit challenging – I think we used a whole box of nails to hold it together! One day it collapsed – it didn’t fall apart – it just sank to the ground. It was easy to fix – just needed more nails.

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Tents pitched at the first Roundup, Detroit, 1956 (GSCNC archives).

There was always something to do! In addition to preparing food, eating, and cleaning up, there were patrol meetings to let everyone know what was happening that day. Sometimes, we had assignments, such as being part of the flag ceremony on the Avenue of Flags. There were demonstrations by each patrol about something related to our home area. Because jousting is the Maryland State Sport, our patrol demonstrated a jousting tournament – with cardboard horses. The demonstrations were always interesting and fun to watch and, if you were lucky, perhaps you could get a taste of rattlesnake meat – really! In the evenings, we joined other patrols at Troop or Camp programs – perhaps folk dancing by Girl Guides, singing (of course), and Arena events.

The official camp uniform was “greenies” – dark green shorts and knee socks, and white camp shirt. It was very sharp looking but we could only take so many sets along – that meant hand laundry and line drying. Roundup was open to the public and we had a lot of visitors – the first day that Roundup was open to the public, over 4,000 people visited and that number increased. The patrol areas also had to be ready for visitors during certain hours of the day. Any wet laundry had to be out of sight during those times and, combined with almost daily thunderstorms, clothes took a while to dry! There were career counseling sessions, visits with Burlington College language students, and exhibits. Vermont is a big dairy state, and the cows and milking machines were a big hit! There were even milk dispensers scattered throughout the area. We drank a LOT of milk!

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Regulation camp uniform (GSCNC archives).

Whenever, wherever, we exchanged swaps! Every State was represented and Girl Guides from 15 member countries attended. Meeting them was simply terrific! The best place to put all those swaps was on your Roundup hat – until you ran out of space and then you safely packed the rest away. Our patrol’s swap was a small, thin, pointed wooden dowel – like a jousting lance – slipped through a round piece of material (Pellon®) with Southern Maryland Council written on it and, of course, our own name and address.

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SWAPS!!!  (GSCNC archives)

For our meals, we received recipes and bags of food. We had enough for nine people because we always had a guest – usually a Troop Leader or Staff Member. We cooked on charcoal and had made many, many fire starters soaked in paraffin which were safe, lightweight, and easy to pack. We celebrated the 50th Anniversary of Girl Scouting with a special meal of grilled chicken. We received 4 ½ chickens – 4 were whole. Only one of us had the foggiest clue of what to do with a whole chicken. We ended up with a total of 90 pieces of chicken – some were a little small but it all tasted great!

The 1962 Roundup focused on the 50th Anniversary of Girl Scouting – “Honor the Past, Serve the Future.” The 50th Anniversary stamp was issued from Roundup, and we all kept the on-site Post Office busy by mailing First Day covers. One of the Arena Events was a special celebration of the 50th birthday, with special guest of honor Maria von Trapp visiting from nearby Stowe. The arena, a natural hillside, was a perfect setting and could handle 10,000 people. You can image 10,000 Girl Scouts on the move!

There’s so much to tell you about – all the fun, all the friendships! At first, I didn’t know where to start, and now I don’t know where to end. But it was an incredible time and it’s amazing to meet another Roundupper. It’s like meeting an old friend and sharing many great memories. The conversation usually goes – – “You went to Roundup? Which one? Me, too!”

–Kathy Seubert Heberg

Stop by the Nation’s Capital main office at 4301 Connecticut Ave., NW in Washington, DC, to see an exhibit of items from the various Roundups.

Why were the Roundups canceled? Read about it here!

 

 

 

@ the North Carolina Girl Scout Collector’s Show

The 2015 North Carolina Girl Scout Collector’s Show is in full swing at Trinity Reformed United Church of Christ in Conover, North Carolina. This is my first Collector’s Show, and I’m amazed at all the items on display.

Becky Byrns and the Girl Scout Council Peaks to Piedmont have put together a wonderful event with nearly 40 vendors. This year’s patch says, “An Antique Show That Is Only Girl Scout Stuff” and that description is definitely accurate!

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Vintage uniforms greet arrivals outside the display hall.

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Vendors set up at the 2015 show.

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Foreground: Scoutiques both, with Tom and Rosemary Ashton

Vendors include private collectors and council archives committees selling excess inventory.

Friday night was setup.  Most committee members had shopping lists of what badges, uniforms, and magazines are missing from their collections.

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Ellen DeMaio’s Wonderful Doll Display

One collector's fabulous badge and insignia display.

Susan Dellay’s fabulous badge and insignia display.

Early Khaki uniforms on dislay

Early Khaki uniforms on dislay

Merana Cadorette (left) and Annelise Squieri confer.

Merana Cadorette (left) and Annelise Squieri confer.

Even Daisy is here!

Even Daisy is here!

Sorting and selling

Sorting and selling

I brought items from my own collection, including copies of my book and over 100 Council’s Own badges. (Need requirements? Check my Council’s Own website.)

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I’m in the corner by the back door.

Stop by and say hello.  Buy a book and give me a chance to use my new credit card reader!

The show runs until 3pm today, Saturday November 14. I”ll add more photos as the day goes on.

2015 Collector's Show patch

2015 Collector’s Show patch

© 2015 Ann Robertson

Archives and History Program Center Opens

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Every visitor receives a Center patch.

We did it!

On Saturday, September 19, 2015, the Nation’s Capital Archives & History Program Center in Honor of Diane Tipton opened in Frederick, Maryland.

We had guests from the Heart of Pennsylvania and Central Maryland Archives Committees, county and state political leaders, and over 100 members of Nation’s Capital.

For those of you who couldn’t make it, here is a virtual tour of the facility.

Entrance area.

Entrance area.

Main exhibit area includes a council map.

Main exhibit area includes a council map.

Main exhibit area from rear of Center.

Main exhibit area from rear of Center.

Old badges are displayed atop old shop posters.

Old badges are displayed atop old shop posters.

Publication storage and workroom. The Center previously was a field office.

Publication storage and workroom. The Center previously was a field office.

More publications and storage.

More publications and storage.

Cookie display in the old kitchen.

Cookie display in the old kitchen.

There's even a display in the restroom.

There’s even a display in the restroom.

The uniform room is compact, but includes storage, a desk, and an iron and ironing board behind the door.

The uniform room is compact, but includes storage, a desk, and an iron and ironing board behind the door.

A wall-track hanging system allows us to rotate pictures and displays.

A wall-track hanging system allows us to rotate pictures and displays.

The purse display is extremely popular.

The purse display is extremely popular.

Diane Tipton was president of the council from 2008 to 2014 and is a devoted friend of the archives. We thank her for making this Center a reality!

Former council president Diane Tipton with some of the day's uniform models.

Former council president Diane Tipton with some of the day’s uniform models.

Nation's Capital CEO Lidia Soto-Harmon and I after the dedication.

Nation’s Capital CEO Lidia Soto-Harmon and I after the dedication.

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Girl Scouts to open archive and history center in Frederick County – The Frederick News-Post : Real Life

When Fran Randall joined the Girl Scouts in 1938, she wore a long green dress with long sleeves, a belt and an ace scarf.

Source: Girl Scouts to open archive and history center in Frederick County – The Frederick News-Post : Real Life

To Savannah We Go

This week we’re taking our daughter, Erin, to college.

Old College 101 Interest Project.

Old College 101 Interest Project.

As much as I’d love for her to enroll in GS University* full time, she will be attending SCAD, the Savannah College of Art and Design. At least she’ll be in Savannah.

Every Girl Scout compass points to Savannah, birthplace of our founder, Juliette Gordon Low, and site of the First Headquarters.  Both museums are within easy walking distance of the SCAD campus.

But I was delighted to learn that SCAD is forging strong ties with the Girl Scouts.

GS Historic Georgia-SCAD Preservation Patch

GS Historic Georgia-SCAD Preservation Patch

SCAD and the Girl Scout Council of Historic Georgia, which runs the First Headquarters, have collaborated to create a patch program on preservation.

Earlier in 2015, SCAD students created a new exhibition and library space at the Juliette Gordon Low Birthplace: Girl Writing the World: A Library Reimagined. According to the Birthplace website,

From the 1913 Interpreter badge to today’s Netiquette badge, proficiencies in reading, writing and speaking       have played fundamental roles in the growth of Girls Scouts — fostering curiosity, exploration and intellect, as well as in developing their full potential. Tracing the arc of female writers and speakers from the beginning of time to the present, and inspired by muses, goddesses and heroines, the framework for this installation focuses on the themes of Memory, Knowledge, Imagination, Poetry and Wisdom. As a room of their own, this library provides girls of all ages a space in which to see themselves reflected and to find their own voices.  Nourishing the senses, it can inspire them to remember, know, imagine, rhyme and reason, and from it, to grow wise — writing the world and making it a better place.

Here’s a look at the process of setting up the exhibit:

I’m glad that she’ll be attending SCAD, a university that realizes the value of Girl Scouting.

I’m also glad that even though Erin will be far from home, Savannah is a warm (as in friendly) welcoming city.

We’ve already found our favorite Italian spot, Fra Li Gourmet, where Lisa is a gracious host and incredible chef. They even provide pasta for several SCAD eateries.  At least I know Erin will eat well.

©2015 Ann Robertson

*and what’s up with GS University? The website looks abandoned.

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.

Entrance to 420 Fifth Avenue

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.

Yevgeniya Gribov and I.

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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Troop 2890 was here!

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.

Behind the Box: An Exhibit about More than Just Cookie Crumbs

We all know about cookie patches and profits, but what other prizes come with cookie sales?

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To earn their Museum Discovery Interest Project (an old teen badge), my troop of Seniors and Ambassadors created the new exhibit at the Nation’s Council’s main office. They decided to focus on four types of cookie awards: to girls, to adult volunteers, to councils, and to the entire Girl Scout movement.

The girls visited the council storage facility to select items from the council collection, searched their own rooms, borrowed from older and younger sisters, contacted one of the council’s top 100 sellers, and sorted through items loaned by members of the council Archives and History Committee. I loaned a few items, such as mugs from when I was a troop cookie manager in the dark ages, and the girls made thorough use of my cookie patch collection, too.

Weston Lodge at Rockwood National Center (demolished in early 1980s).

Weston Lodge at Rockwood National Center (demolished in early 1980s).

They came up with a wonderful assortment of patches and stuffed animals (naturally), but also puppets, t-shirts, dolls, mugs, and jewelry. They included a plaque of appreciation presented to Nation’s Capital by Little Brownie Bakers, as well as an old Weston Bakery box and photo of Weston Lodge from Rockwood National Center. In the early 1950s, W. Garfield Weston gave $25,000 to kick-start a $200,000 expansion program for the national camp.

Pewter-like incentives from 1999, 2000, and 2002.

Pewter-like incentives from 1999, 2000, and 2002 (eBay photo).

Installing the exhibit down at council on a Saturday, the set up team met the council’s product sales manager, who gave them an insider view on the process. They discovered that Nation’s Capital did not offer the adorable puppy hat from 2006—but decided it was too cute to leave out. They also learned that the pewter animal prizes (and every girl in the troop seemed to still have at least one) were actually not real pewter. What’s more, when they were discontinued, the girls didn’t complain—but parents did!

 

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The display will remain in the lobby of the council main office at 4301 Connecticut Avenue NW through March.

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A Warehouse? On Winter Break?

I have the greatest troop of Senior and Ambassador Girl Scouts.

They are unfailingly kind, generous, smart, funny, and always willing to be guinea pigs in whatever crazy scheme I come up with.

Over the years we’ve rung in the New Year with movie marathons at our local camp, gone to DC Roller Girls matches, walked the length of the National Mall on the hottest day of the year, debated proper attire for vampires, and collected nearly 200 bras for victims of domestic violence.  They have gamely tried out possible activities for my patch programs about princesses, Barbies, and the Hunger Games.

Since I became chair of the Nation’s Capital Archives and History Committee in 2012, they have become Girl Scout historians, too. They have visited local sites with Girl Scout history ties, such as Peirce Mill and Rockwood Manor. They spent one meeting arranging a suitcase full of old teen uniforms in chronological order and critiquing the style and fabric. Last year, over winter break, a group dismantled, relocated, and reassembled the Committee’s storage area when the council headquarters received new carpet.

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Yesterday, I took a carload of girls to the warehouse in Northeast Washington, DC, where the majority of our collection is housed. Our two storage units are packed to the brim, so I limited the trip to four girls. Would you believe I had a waiting list? Let’s review: I had teenage girls on winter break clamoring to go to a warehouse. A warehouse!

I didn't know we had old GS bathing suits!

I didn’t know we had old GS bathing suits!

We spent about two hours at the warehouse, carrying out several missions. I had old Leader magazines to return and needed to borrow some Rockwood materials for research. We also had a request requiring some old camp uniforms and a roundup hat, so we located those and talked about what roundups were.

Everyone loves old hats!

Everyone loves old hats!

 

Our main goal was to locate items for an upcoming display about cookie patches and prizes over the years. The girls are working on the old Museum Discovery Interest Project, and the display will satisfy some of those requirements. But there’s more to the cookie display project than just earning a badge.

 

The Museum Discovery Interest Project

The Museum Discovery Interest Project

Next year Nation’s Capital will open a dedicated history program center at a former field office in Frederick, Maryland. I am beyond excited by the prospect of permanent displays and being able to better share our collection with our members and the community.

We’re still working out what types of programs will be offered in Frederick, but I hope there will be a mix of “for girls” and “by girls” on the menu.  I visited the First Headquarters in Savannah last summer and was so impressed that teens from the Historic Georgia Council work at the museum and lead most of the programs.  pa_pinI would love to implement a similar model for Nation’s Capital, perhaps even creating a History Program Aide specialty.

Working with my own troop has confirmed that, with proper instruction, girls can handle artifacts appropriately and responsibly. I try to reinforce with my girls that there is a huge, wonderful world of Girl Scouting out there beyond our troop. They enjoy seeing how they fit into our timeline, discovering what has changed and what has stayed the same.

Above all, they prove that Girl Scouts want to learn more about Girl Scout history.  I can’t wait to give them and other troops that opportunity.

Daisies Turn 30

As 2014 draws to an end, we celebrate the 30th birthday of the Daisy Girl Scout program.

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In October 1984, kindergarteners joined their older sisters as the newest Girl Scouts.  The new Girl Scout Leadership Experience, implemented in 2008, regrouped age levels and made Daisies a two-year program, for kindergarteners and first graders.

Daisies are, of course, named for Juliette Gordon Low, the founder of Girl Scouting. “Daisy” was Juliette’s childhood nickname. But when the new program was tested by over 70 councils across the United States, the proposed name was “Pixies.”

Councils piloting the kindergarten-age program used this guide, published in 1975.

Councils piloting the kindergarten-age program used this guide, published in 1975.

The Daisy program has grown considerably over the years. The first Daisies received a scrapbook to record her experiences and activities. She carried her scrapbook in a clear plastic pouch and saved room in the scrapbook for certificates marking the beginning and end of her Daisy year.

Daisy pouch and certificates (1984 catalog).

Daisy pouch and certificates (1984 catalog).

Daisies always had their own membership pin, but they did not earn recognitions for nearly a decade. The Bridge to Brownie patch was introduced in 1993, petals in 2000, and leaves in 2011.

Daisy insignia over the years.

Daisy insignia over the years.

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The Daisy uniform has evolved from a simple blue tunic to range of options including shirts, shorts, leggings, hats, and a vest plus a closet-ful of unofficial fun wear.

Drop by the GSCNC Main Office at 4301 Connecticut Ave. NW and check out the delightful world of Daisies!

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This display was inspired by a question in the “Ask It Basket” at the August Kick-off. Do you have an idea for a display? Let me know!