Norman Rockwell and the Art of Scouting
“My experience on Boys’ Life helped me build some confidence in myself at a time when I needed courage, needed to believe in myself.”
At the age of nineteen, Norman Rockwell was appointed art editor of Boys’ Life magazine. Over the course of sixty-four years, the artist produced numerous Scouting illustrations for use on calendars, magazines, handbooks, and posters. Part of a long tradition of artists who helped to shape and define the image of the Boy Scouts of America, Rockwell imbued his Scouting subjects with a sense of higher purpose inspired by the organization’s principles and practice.
For more than a century, the Boy Scouts have relied on illustrators to translate Scouting life into striking visual narratives. Featuring the work of Norman Rockwell, Joseph Christian Leyendecker, Walt Disney Studios, Howard Chandler Christy, Dean Cornwell, and Joseph Csatari, this new permanent installation takes a closer look at the artists behind America's largest youth organization.
Joseph Christian Leyendecker (1874–1951)
Weapons for Liberty, 1918
Oil on canvas
Cover illustration for The Saturday Evening Post, March 2, 1918
Poster illustration for the Boy Scouts of America Third Liberty Loan Campaign, 1918
Collection of the National Scouting Museum
The Collectible Legacy of Robert Baden-Powell
Before Robert Stephenson Smyth Baden-Powell earned worldwide notoriety as the founder of the Scouting movement, he led a prolific career in the British Army. On October 12, 1899, Colonel Baden-Powell proclaimed the outbreak of the Boer War in Mafeking, South Africa, which was followed by 217 days of siege. Hailed as a national hero upon his return to Britain, Baden-Powell's likeness was immortalized on ceramics, tins, cigar boxes, and other everyday objects. Drawn from the Museum's permanent collection, this exhibition highlights some of the whimsical items created to commemorate his legacy.
Scouting History Collection Highlights
“As a matter of fact I didn’t actually start the Boy Scout movement because the blooming thing started itself unseen.”
—Robert Stephenson Smyth Baden-Powell, 1937
Founded in 1910, the Boy Scouts of America has grown to be one of the largest youth development organizations in the world. With roots that stretch across national borders, the story of Scouting is told through the innovative thinking of its founders and the youth for whom the program exists to serve.
Aimed at the interests of children and adults alike, this installation chronicles the vast history of Scouting in America through interactive programs, archival documents, and unique artifacts drawn from the permanent collection.
Throughout the exhibition space, visitors are invited to:
-Race real pinewood derby cars on a six-lane track.
-Practice marksmanship skills in our laser shooting gallery.
-Learn about the Scouting program’s High Adventure Bases in our recently renovated Cinemascope theater.
-Record their own Scouting memories through our storytelling kiosk.
-Practice tying knots and identifying animal tracks.