WESTFIELD, NJ — The Girl Scouts Heart of New Jersey Museum celebrated its grand opening Saturday at 201 Grove Street East.
The little museum consists of uniforms dating back to 1918, vintage cookie tins, badge collections and other classic Girl Scouts memorabilia. Members of the GSHNJ’s board of directors Dolores Kresge, Nancy Avery and Sherley Penrose started collecting donations and personal memorabilia in December of 2014 to create it.
“The ladies have been working for at least 18 months, categorizing items and cleaning uniforms,” GSHNJ CEO Pat Carroll said. “Girl Scouts is built a lot on tradition but we want to continue to be relevant to girls. They can learn a lot about what happened almost 100 years ago here.”
The museum’s primary audience is current Girl Scouts, who can compete in scavenger hunts and activities at the museum to earn a badge. However, the organization encourages people of all ages to attend and take advantage of its convenience.
“Westfield is a centralized location for everyone,” said creative marketing coordinator Holly Brandes. “It’s easy to access, we call it our central service center.”
The grand opening featured a ribbon-cutting ceremony conducted by Westfield Mayor Andy Skibitsky and GSHNJ President Nancy Faulks. Also in attendance was Young Women of Distinction Julie Averbach, who recently earned her Gold Award, the highest award given to a Girl Scout, by creating a comic book about children who have siblings with special needs. The Young Women of Distinction is awarded to 10 Girl Scouts across the country by the Girl Scouts of the United States of America.
“I’m the 33rd mayor in Westfield’s history and we’ve never had a female mayor,” said Mayor Skibitsky in his speech. “I’m sure we will soon, and my gut feels that it will probably be a former Scout.”
The Girl Scouts Heart of New Jersey museum is free of charge and open by appointment only. For more information, visit https://www.gshnj.org/.