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National Scouting Museum
Campfires, merit badges, knot tying, and wilderness exploring. These may be the first things that come to mind when you think of the Boy Scouts of America, and for good reason.
The Boy Scouts has been an American tradition since 1910, and all the stories and history can be seen and experienced at the National Scouting Museum in Irving. Go spelunking in the Venture Cave, explore the Passports Map to find high-adventure bases by activity or location, hike up Merit Badge Mountain, and listen to traditional scout stories told around the campfire.
Exciting exhibits, a collection of fine art that includes Norman Rockwell originals, and interactive workshops await at the National Scouting Museum.
The National Scouting Museum’s exhibits bring to life more than a century’s worth of Boy Scout history. See the beaded leather leggings, Indian skull designs drawn, and other works by Ernest Thompson Seton, an author, wildlife artist, and one of the founding pioneers of the Boy Scouts. Then get to know the founder of the Scouting movement, British Army war hero Robert Baden-Powell, as you admire the ceramics, biscuit tins, teapots, and other whimsical items made to commemorate his legacy. Don’t miss the Scouting History Timeline, which faithfully recounts the major developments in Boy Scout history from its establishment through the Great Depression and two world wars to the present day.
Along with its historic displays, the National Scouting Museum is also home to one of the largest collections of Norman Rockwell paintings in the world. The Boy Scouts of America gave the famed artist his first job for their Boys’ Life magazine. Even after he moved on to other jobs, he kept up his relationship with the Boy Scouts, often incorporating scouts into his iconic paintings alongside dogs and families. You can also see two original Boy Scout paintings by Joseph Christian Leyendecker, Rockwell’s predecessor and inspiration. Joseph Csatari became the official artist of the Boy Scouts of America after Normal Rockwell left, and you can also see some of his originals on display at the museum.
The museum showcases more than 600,000 one-of-a-kind items that tell the story of the organization from its beginning. Be sure to check out the medal awarded to the first Eagle Scout in 1912 (Arthur Eldred of Oceanside, New York). The museum’s expansive collection includes everything from vintage posters and postage stamps to historic photos and minutes from some of the organization’s earliest meetings. One of the museum’s centerpieces is its extensive oral history collection. You could fill an afternoon with these entertaining firsthand stories of Teddy Roosevelt, Jr., African safaris, and campfire tales.
Workshops and Programs
Today, boy scouts can earn more than 137 merit badges. Scouts can attend workshops at the National Scouting Museum to earn badges on subjects like moviemaking, family life, and personal management. You can also arrange for group tours and field trips at the museum that incorporate hands-on activities and customize the presentation to your group’s interests and time constraints.
Don’t miss the opportunity to visit the National Scouting Museum in Irving before it moves to its new location in New Mexico. The museum will remain open for tours through this Labor Day (Monday, September 4, 2017).