Plans for the development of a Scout Museum have taken a great step forward as we have been awarded a grant from The National Lottery Heritage Fund to help put our plans into action.

We have had a heritage collection since 1918 when Robert Baden-Powell called for material to be donated to help tell the story of our movement’s first 10 years.

“…there is one little thing that many an old Scout can do for us… …and that is to help in the collection we are making of historical records of the movement.”

The collection has grown to over 250,000 items and varies from the iconic to the everyday, and each object has an extraordinary story to tell.

As the UK is the birthplace of the worldwide Scout movement, we are privileged to care for unique items of international importance and have a duty of care to preserve and share these.

At the moment the collection is in storage at Gilwell Park meaning it is inaccessible to most visitors, and the current stores are too small, putting the objects at risk of deterioration.

Encouraging learning

This project will enable us to share the collection through permanent and temporary exhibition spaces. We will also be able to engage people through an exciting and innovative learning programme (both on site and around the country) and care for the collection, preserving it for future generations.

As part of the development stage of the project we’ll carry out audience research, test activities and develop our plans.  The project will rely on external funding – not Scout membership fees. As a result we will also be carrying out a major fundraising programme working with trusts, foundations and individual donors.  This programme is already off to a great start with a donor who has pledged a major sum.  This phase will kick off in February 2020 and last about 18 months culminating in an application to The National Lottery Heritage Fund for the additional money required to build the new facilities.

Reaching new audiences

This project builds on the work of the Scout’s Heritage Service which has already trialled different approaches for reaching out to new audiences and using our collection to support wellbeing and skills for life.  These include working with the Alzheimer’s Society to run intergenerational ‘Singing for the Brain’ campfires, offering local young carers a residential experience with a difference at Gilwell Park and reaching out to school pupils through our National Lottery Heritage Fund supported ‘Moving Connections’ project.

To find out more about the project visit our Museum page.

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