As an historic site, we spend a lot of time talking about the past, but as Girl Scouts we also think about what we can do to shape a better future. In October 2016, the Juliette Gordon Low Birthplace celebrated 60 years as a museum, and just like the Girl Scouts who dedicated the house on October 19, 1956, we shared our wishes and dreams for the future and considered how we as a site can best serve our community and the world for the next 60 years.
Sixty years to the day after Girl Scouts celebrated the opening of birthplace with a dedication ceremony, JGL staff welcomed Dr. Sarah Ruffing Robbins* to speak to a group of dynamic Savannahians. In her address, Dr. Robbins gave examples of how the Juliette Low Birthplace, and the broader community, can use our histories and collections to positively impact our community. The evening featured poetry readings by local Girl Scouts, and many great questions and observations from our audience. Following the program, a dinner and conversation for women leaders from GSUSA and Savannah took place in our beautiful historic dining room.
On October 29, JGL staff continued the site’s 60th anniversary celebration and commemorated Juliette Low’s 156th birthday with a fun-filled, free afternoon for local Girl Scouts. Troops and families toured the site, participated in various courage-building, hands-on activities, and even got to sample what other local historic sites and museums have to offer. Girls worked with local artist Brittany Curry to create a beautiful and inspiring collage that shows their vision for the future of the birthplace. Visitors ended the afternoon on a sweet note, enjoying birthday cake and lemonade in our courtyard. We were so happy to celebrate our founder’s birthday weekend with Girl Scouts and volunteers from right here in Daisy’s hometown.
*Sarah Ruffing Robbins is a lifetime member of Girl Scouts of the USA, and a teacher-scholar whose classroom career began at Benedictine School in Savannah. Her forthcoming monograph, due for release in early 2017, is Learning Legacies: Archive to Action through Women’s Cross-Cultural Teaching. Learning Legacies, which includes discussion of the Juliette Gordon Low birthplace in the closing chapter, will be her ninth book. Much of Sarah’s research focuses on the how women’s leadership shapes community life, such as through home-based teaching (Managing Literacy, Mothering America), gendered advocacy for key social issues through writing (The Cambridge Introduction to Harriet Beecher Stowe), connections to women’s movements like foreign mission teaching (Nellie Arnott’s Writings on Angola) or activist work in academic settings today (Bridging Cultures: International Women Faculty Transforming the US Academy). Since 2009, Sarah has held an endowed chair in American literature at TCU in Fort Worth. A proud mother of two daughters—one an attorney in San Francisco and the other a doctoral student at UGA in Athens—Sarah is currently at work on new book about women whose travel experiences to Great Britain, like Juliette Gordon Low’s, became turning points in their lives.