Four Years in Savannah

Last week my daughter graduated from the Savannah College of Art and Design. (Summa Cum Laude in scriptwriting, I know you want to ask.)

When she opted for SCAD, I knew we wouldn’t get to see her very often, as the SCAD campus is some 600 miles away.

But I’m glad we made the effort to visit this beautiful city. My husband and I became regulars at a Hampton Inn near SCAD, and only partly because of their free waffles.

Husband (left) and daughter at commencement

Over time we walked around the historic district enough times that we no longer need a map.

As we drove over the Savannah River and into South Carolina and back to Maryland, it was easy to review what I’d learned these past years. Most are connected to Girl Scouts, which began in Savannah in 1912.

1. I was already familiar with the bridge when the Girl Scouts of Georgia lobbied (unsuccessfully) in 2017 to have it named for founder Juliette Gordon Low.

2. My daughter had the coolest college job ever, as a docent at the Juliette Gordon Low Birthplace. I learned a lot from her about how to bring former residents “alive” in a house museum. After all, tours are just another form of script.

3. I was lucky to have a peek behind the curtain to see Birthplace operations, including the renovated library.

4. I learned more about museum strategies to humanize artifacts. Instead of just showing a uniform, add details about who wore it and what she did while wearing it.

5. I had a fancy dinner in the Birthplace dining room with two of JGL’s great-nieces. They were just as warm and friendly as you’d expect.

6. I learned that shrimp and grits are nature’s most perfect food.

7. And yes, Leopold’s ice cream really is that good.

8. I participated in a GSUSA Task Force on the future of the Birthplace.

9. I didn’t spend nearly enough time at the Girl Scout First Headquarters museum. I don’t remember how many rounds of phone tag the director and I had, but we seldom connected.

10. I learned that if you stand on a street corner and yell “It’s Girl Scouts of the USA” every time a tour guide says that JGL founded the “Girl Scouts of America,” tourists think you’re just a weird Girl Scout vigilante and ignore you.

I deliberately decided not to visit the Andrew Low House or Laurel Grove cemetery. I’m saving them as the reason to return in the future.

Farewell to the Birthplace!!
(and, yes, passing tourists stared)

These four years in Savannah were unforgettable. And yes, I got the patch. All of them!

A sample of my many Savannah patches

©2019 Ann Robertson

A Practical Approach to Girl Scout Archives

I have a busy week coming up, first going to the North Carolina Girl Scout Collectors’ Show, then on to Savannah, Georgia, to see my daughter, who is a junior at the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD).

She is busy studying schedules and determining what classes to take this fall and the rest of her senior year. I continue to be amazed at the variety of courses and career paths offered at SCAD. They have areas of study that I never knew existed, like yacht design, sequential art, and luxury and fashion management. SCAD takes a very hands-on, applied approach to learning that equips students for creative careers.

I already have another trip to Savannah penciled in for October, this time for a Girl Scout history conference. The last such conference I attended was very conceptual–discussions and presentations on the changing role of museums in the 21st century.

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GS Historic Georgia partnered with SCAD to create a Preservation Patch

I have no idea what is being planned officially, but if it were me, I know what Savannah resource I would want to use wisely–SCAD. A conference planned in coordination with the school could provide tremendous hands-on learning opportunities. There are many potentially relevant programs, for example:

Accessory and Jewelry Design: Techniques for cleaning pins and metal camping equipment;  novel ideas for displays of lots of tiny objects.

CharacterDesignWrkshpAdActing and Character Development: For our living Juliette Gordon Lows.

Branded Entertainment: I don’t have any idea what this is, but how often do we hear about communicating and protecting the Girl Scout brand? Maybe we would learn!

Fashion/Fibers/Costume Design: Best techniques for preserving old fabric; how do you clean 100-year old sweat stains and rust stains?

 

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Museum Studies students craft narratives about their artifacts (SCAD).

Museum Studies: Duh.

 

Photography/Film/Sound: How to archive photos, film etc. (and could someone please convert some Beta tapes that we have?)

Preservation Design: This also seems obvious.

 

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Designing exhibit displays and props (SCAD).

Production Design: Tips on how to construct and configure exhibits and display spaces.

 

Themed Entertainment Design: to create Juliette Gordon Low World (just kidding–mostly)

Conducting a two-hour workshop on these topics would be a great experience for students, as SCAD teaches them to hone their presentation skills whenever possible. I definitely would sign up for as many as possible.

Ultimately, the conference curriculum isn’t up to me.  Maybe I’ll just browse the textbook aisle in the campus bookstore and try to learn some of these skills on my own.

©2018 Ann Robertson

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.