GSSJC volunteer shares her personal Girl Scout memorabilia
Council History Committee member displays exhibit at Conroe museum
HOUSTON (July 27, 2011) –- As a Girl Scouts of San Jacinto Council (GSSJC) camp director, troop leader and trainer for more than 40 years, some of Jean Barnhill’s most cherished memories are of telling stories at camp, leading girls on backpacking trips and exploring nature. Now, with a new scouting exhibit serving as a reminder, the memories may never fade.
Jean will display almost 100 years worth of Girl and Boy Scout memorabilia at the History of Scouting exhibit from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. on Aug.13 at The Heritage Museum of Montgomery County in Conroe.
“I collected everything as I went along in life,” she said. “What I display is things I’ve earned or my family has earned.”
The exhibit features historical pictures, uniforms and patches from the personal collections of Jean, her late husband Ranger Tom, her son and her daughter. The oldest item, a Juliette Gordon Low jacket, dates back to 1919. In addition to contributing her own memorabilia to the museum, Jean adds to the museum’s collection as the chair of the Accession Committee.
“She just loves history,” said Marlene Edwards, the GSSJC History Committee archivist. “She can tell you the history of a little cup or saucer. She is just very knowledgeable where antiques are concerned.”
Jean joined Girl Scouts as her daughter’s Brownie troop leader in 1967 and stayed with the troop until the girls graduated. Jean was also director of Camp Agnes Arnold for seven years and lived at the camp for 20 years with her husband, who served as campsite manager for all the camps. She has earned the Council’s Continuing Service Award and national recognitions including the Thanks Badge and the Thanks Badge II.
Jean’s love of history runs deep. Her father owned an antique shop when she was a child, and Jean later started her own antique shop, which she ran for 20 years. Though she eventually retired her shop, she still runs an antique booth at the local mall.
Staying true to her love of history, Jean attended Camp Edith Macy in New York, the first training school for Girl Scouts in the 1920's, where she was trained by expert archivists and historians. When she returned, she founded the Girl Scouts of San Jacinto Council’s History Committee, which now maintains the Goodykoontz Museum of Girl Scout History, and served as committee chair for four years.
Despite retiring as chair, Jean still remains an active historian and dedicated member of the History Committee.
“Even though Jean lives at a distance, we have remained special friends for 35 years,” said Marlene, a History Committee member since its founding. “She is a woman I admire very much, because she has committed her life to scouting.”
Anyone interested in learning more about Girl Scout history can visit the Goodykoontz Museum of Girl Scout History. Currently displayed items include uniforms, patches, hats jewelry, handbooks, national publications and even dolls. However, in celebration of the Girl Scout’s 100th anniversary, the committee will unveil new exhibits in August.
The museum is open to the public and located at GSSJC’s Program Place for Girls (3000 Southwest Freeway). Self-guided tours are available Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Docent tours are available Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and on Saturday at 9:30 a.m. or 11 a.m.
About Girl Scouts of San Jacinto Council Girl Scouts of the USA is the world's preeminent organization for girls, with a membership of more than 3.7 million girls and adults. Girl Scouting builds girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place. Chartered by GSUSA to provide Girl Scouting locally, Girl Scouts of San Jacinto Council is one of the largest Girl Scout councils in the country serving more than 76,000 girls served and nearly 18,000 adult members in 26 southeast Texas counties.###
Caption: Jean Barnhill shows off her Girl Scout memorabilia. The exhibit features historical pictures, uniforms and patches from the personal collections of Jean, her late husband Ranger Tom, her son and her daughter.
Caption 2: Jean’s display contains almost 100 years worth of Girl and Boy Scout memorabilia. A reception for the exhibit will take place from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. on Aug.13 at The Heritage Museum of Montgomery County in Conroe.
Visit www.girlscouts.org/convention to register today!
GSSJC | Communications Department
3110 Southwest Freeway Houston, TX 77098