In 1953, Girl Scout Brownies attending day camp in Austin, Minnesota used clothespins to hang their bag lunches on a line. That image is now one of 129 photos, documents and other historical items that have been digitally preserved in Minnesota Reflections, a project of the Minnesota Digital Library (MDL).
Organizations must apply to MDL to have their projects included in Minnesota Reflections. River Valleys’ Heritage Committee, a group made up entirely of volunteers, submitted the application and then spent more than a year gathering, identifying and organizing photographs and other historical Girl Scout items for the collection.
Heritage Committee members Bonna Scherer and Jean Dehning each spent at least 100 hours entering metadata for each item after they were digitized by the Minnesota Historical Society. They volunteered their time because they are passionate about preserving River Valleys’ rich history for future generations.
Thanks to their hard work and dedication, today’s Girl Scouts can go to Minnesota Reflections and feel a connection to Girl Scouts from years ago. Some examples of what they’ll see include photos of a troop in north Minneapolis from 1915, Girl Scouts swimming at Camp Greenwood in Buffalo, Minnesota in 1930, and original letters signed by Juliette Gordon Low. There has already been a lot of energy and excitement from a few alumnae who have seen and recognized girls in the photos.
These old photos and items connect us to our past, remind us where we came from and are a source of wonder and pride. They were at risk of deteriorating or of being lost and forgotten. Now they are easy to access and will be celebrated and cherished by Girl Scouts for years to come.