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The Girl Scout Museum Experience


Honoring the history of Girl Scouting in our local communities is a wonderful way to explore the evolution of one of the country’s oldest organizations dedicated to girls and women. Currently, our council historians and others are developing a plan to bring our history to life in a variety of ways that best serve the needs and interests of our girl and adult members.

GCNWI Historians Mission Statement

To acquire, organize, and preserve artifacts related to the Girl Scout Movement, to make the collection available to our membership, researchers, and the general public, and to programs and resources that promote an enduring understanding of the rich history of Girl Scouts.

     ~ Developed and envisioned by the GCNWI Council Historians - 2016

Overall Strategy and Ways to Get Involved

The concept of the Girl Scout museum experience continues to grow and come to fruition!

  • A Steering Committee was convened to lay the groundwork for the museum experience.
  • Chaired by council historian, the Steering Committee (comprised of six outside experts, two council historians, and two older girls) met over the course of 18 months in 2018 and 2019.
  • Working together, the Steering Committee developed basic components of a new collections policy.
  • Council historians have identified “subject matter experts” (SMEs) from among their ranks who will each be responsible for curating particular aspects of the vast council collection.
  • Categories of the collection include:
    • Books/documents/paper
    • Badges/pins/patches/insignia
    • Uniforms/wearables/textiles
    • Collectables (dolls, jewelry, etc.)
    • Media/filmstrips/movies
    • Equipment/camping
    • Cookies/product/fundraising memorabilia
    • Special events (LEAP, Green for Good, 100th Anniversary and more.)
    • Modern day GS (within last 10 years)
    • Virtual collections (web-based and other)
    • Legacy-specific collections
    • Other, as needs evolve
  • Adults and girls interested in working to preserve Girl Scout history are encouraged to contact us at No prior experience necessary; immersive, hands-on orientation and training will be provided by council historians.
  • The museum experience will be available to girls throughout the council, at each of the six gathering places.
  • The museum experience will come alive through displays and programs, centered around the rich history of Girl Scouting locally and nationally.

Council-wide programming, including Girl Scout history programming, takes place at each gathering place so girls in every corner of our council footprint will be able to access the programs.

  • History programs to date include “Timeless! That’s the Girl Scouts!” and “Girl Scout Tea Parties.”
  • Watch the council website for more Girl Scout history programs!
  • The historians have developed “program boxes” and made them available for troops/groups to check out for a hands-on, immersive experience.
  • Individual historians may also bring historical programming directly to troops or service units where girls of all levels may have the opportunity to see, hear, and touch Girl Scout history in a small setting. For more information, or to connect with an historian, contact
Creating an Overall Girl Scout Museum Experience!

We are excited that ALL girls throughout the council will be able to view historical artifacts in a council gathering place near them.

  • We are thrilled that Girl Scout history will soon come alive in the atrium of the Vernon Hills Gathering Place. We are in the process of buying custom display cases for the atrium, which will showcase our Girl Scout archives for all to enjoy. Several historians are providing input into the design of the display cases.
  • Display cases showcasing the Girl Scout historical collection are currently located in:
    • Chicago Gathering Place, 20 S. Clark Street, Chicago, IL 60603
    • Joliet Gathering Place, 1551 Spencer Road, Joliet, IL 60433
  • We are in the process of purchasing display cases for:
    • Vernon Hills Gathering Place, 650 N. Lakeview Pkwy, Vernon Hills, IL 60061
    • Woodridge Gathering Place, 3155 W. 71st Street, Woodridge, IL 60517
    • Future home of a south suburban gathering place, location TBD
    • Future home of a northwest Indiana gathering place, location TBD
  • A group of council historians will provide input into the design of display cases.
Storage of the Collection and Work Space
  • Based on the recommendations of the Steering Committee, the council historians are working to manage the scope of the entire collection, so each unique piece may be properly accessioned, stored, and preserved. This will ensure that the collection includes a defined array of quality items that can be viewed, touched/experienced by girls, and/or kept pristine for the future.
  • The main site to house the individual items in the collection will be in Joliet, with additional work space for the historians to work on the collection in Joliet and the historian work room in Vernon Hills.
  • Other areas to house collection items and/or work space for the historians will be one of the considerations of the future gathering places in northwest Indiana and the south suburbs in Illinois.
Funding Past, Present and Future
Future State

Once the initial phase of securing and installing displays and program offerings throughout the council is underway, and guided by the direction set by the Museum Experience Advisory Committee, the future state may include:

  • Interactive, hands-on activities incorporated into the experience
  • Technology utilized to provide girls/visitors with an immersive and interactive experience
  • An increased pool of archivists and council historians to carry on the rich legacy of preserving Girl Scout history for generations to come
Stay Informed

Watch this site for future exciting developments, designed to keep Girl Scout history alive for our current members and future generations of girls!

Have Girl Scout items you would like to donate to the GCNWI Historians? Please contact to be connected.

Download a copy of the Deed of Gift to turn in with your donation.