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Mayor Creighton Gilchrist signs a proclamation, surrounded by a trio of unknown Girl Scouts, circa 1964-66. Anyone able to identify the girls is asked to contact the museum. (Courtesy Photo)

“Scouting in Artesia” is on display at the Artesia Historical Museum and Art Center Feb. 6 – March 31.

The exhibit features photos, artifacts and memorabilia from past Artesia Boy and Girl Scout troops.

Boy Scouting was founded in England by Lord Baden-Powell in 1907 and in America in 1910. Artesia’s first troop was started in 1923 after a recruiter from the National Scout Headquarters visited Southeast New Mexico, making presentations to local groups. Artesia’s Rotary Club had just started, and they quickly voted to sponsor a troop (No. 8) as a club project.

Girl Scouting was founded by Juliette Gordon Low in Georgia in 1912 and in Artesia in 1927. The Artesia Woman’s Club voted to sponsor a Girl Scout organization, and the first troop formed quickly. A week later, this troop competed in a field event and picnic in Roswell with Girl Scouts from Dexter and Roswell — they did pretty well for a troop that was brand-new, placing second in the obstacle race.

Camping is an important component of scouting, and Boy Scout Camp Wehinahpay and Girl Scout Camp Mary White were both established in 1927 on donated land in the Sacramento Mountains. Camp was really CAMP in those early years — scouts slept in tents and helped to construct the first cabins and facilities.

“Scouting in Artesia” features vintage uniforms, photographs, handbooks, patches, and even a handout with the original Girl Scout cookie recipe! (Sorry, it wasn’t Thin Mints.) We have notebooks for visitors to record special memories, and any help we receive on identifying some of our photos will be appreciated!

We are grateful to Maria Landrie of the Girl Scouts of the Desert Southwest office in Artesia for loaning many of the artifacts on display — we appreciate you!

“Scouting in Artesia” is open during regular museum hours: 9 a.m. – noon and 1-5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, and 1-5 p.m. Saturdays. After-hours group/troop tours are available — just give us a call at 748-2390. Large groups are requested to let us know in advance of your visit, so that we can be ready for you — thank you!

You can also reach the museum by email at [email protected]

A Boy Scout troop stands at attention for inspection while camping along the Pecos River, circa the early 1950s. (Courtesy Photo)