National Scouting Museum keeps BSA history alive, one artifact at a time

They store and catalog more than a half-million precious pieces of Scouting history. They handle 200 requests a month from individuals wanting their Boy Scout artifacts identified. They even consult on Scouting props and costumes for movies and TV shows like HBO’s Boardwalk Empire.

Yes, the life of a National Scouting Museum employee seems as glamorous as it does hectic.

The museum sits right across the street from the BSA’s headquarters in Irving, Texas. Its hometown newspaper, The Dallas Morning News, this morning published a positive piece on how the museum preserves and showcases the 103-year history of the Boy Scouts of America.

“One hundred years from now, somebody will want to know what happened today,” museum director Janice Babineaux told the newspaper.

It’s her job to oversee a collection that includes the first Eagle Scout medal ever awarded, 47 original Norman Rockwell paintings used as Boys’ Life magazine covers, every Scouting uniform design in history and more than 600,000 other items.

The museum welcomes visitors, takes its exhibits on the road and even fields some less-common requests from the entertainment world.

Into that category you can put the time Archivist Steven Price heard from the folks behind HBO’s Prohibition-era drama Boardwalk Empire.

“There’s one episode where [HBO] wanted to outfit 70 Boy Scouts from the ’20s, so we just basically took photographs of our early uniforms,” he told the newspaper. “They had their show fashion designer recreate those uniforms.”

The episode, set in 1923, aired in the show’s third season. Go here for a screenshot from a scene where one of the characters addresses Boy Scouts at a conference. The uniforms, at least from what we can see of them, look pretty good.

Keeping BSA history alive through whatever means necessary? That’s just another day in the life of a National Scouting Museum employee. Read the Dallas Morning News story here and go to the museum’s official website to plan a visit on your next trip to North Texas.

About Bryan Wendell 3269 Articles
Bryan Wendell, an Eagle Scout, is the founder of Bryan on Scouting and a contributing writer.