I love looking at old photographs, which is good since I’m the photograph curator. My favorite images are the ones that catch people completely unaware as the go about their lives. It is as if the photographer froze a little piece of history. In this photograph, the MacDonald Studio of Lincoln did just that on November 9, 1941 at the Boy Scouts Merit Badge Exposition. You can feel the crowd’s excitement and pride as they move through the seventy-three exhibits that filled the Agricultural Building at the Nebraska State Fairgrounds. According to the newspaper, nearly 3,000 people swarmed the exposition on the first night. Each exhibit was designed to illustrate one phase of advanced scouting with finished examples of articles and methods. Some of the more outstanding exhibits included a model railroad, canoeing demonstrations, pioneering, tumbling, sea scouting, model airplanes, signaling, and archery. In this photograph, a large crowd has gathered around a boxing ring. To the left of the ring is a truck with examples of various street signs. Behind the truck, an airplane is visible.
If you would like to learn more about Scouting history in Nebraska (and see more cool Boy Scout photographs), please visit the “Boy Scouts of America, 1910-2010: Celebrating the Adventure – Continuing the Journey” Exhibit at the Nebraska History Museum.
On Monday, March 29, 2010, the Cornhusker Council (Lincoln, NE) and the Nebraska State Historical Society will host the “100 years of Scouting Anniversary Reception” from 3:45-5:00 p.m. at the Nebraska History Museum on the corner of 15th & P Streets. Senator Nelson will speak about the value of Scouting in his life and the importance of youth leadership in today’s society at approximately 4:20 p.m.
Curator of the Visual and Audio Collections