Friday, February 5, 2016

Have you Observed Daisy?

Guest Post from Lisa Junkin Lopez, Executive Director, Juliette Gordon Low Birthplace

Have you ever looked closely at an image of someone? I mean really, really studied it? The staff and I at the Juliette Gordon Low Birthplace in Savannah have spent the last month doing just that—examining portraits of Juliette Gordon Low, or “Daisy” as her family nicknamed her, as keys to unlock the story of her life.

In a nutshell, here’s what we learned: our founder was a complex woman. The three paintings of Daisy in our collection use visual cues to describe her in varying, sometimes contradictory ways. In one portrait, a newly married Daisy appears to lead a charmed upper-class life, despite what we know about the significant challenges she faced around this time in her life. In another, she is immersed in the task of carving a bust, looking like quite the brooding artist. A third portrait depicts her as the confident Girl Scout leader she is remembered as. These images made us wonder how Daisy might have depicted herself. So often, the lives of girls and women are reduced to a single snapshot, though, like Daisy, each one of us is a complex and evolving character.

Though no self-portraits of Daisy exist, Girl Scouts is fortunate to have an enormous trove of original documents and artifacts that we can use to paint a more complete picture of the first Girl Scout. As the new executive director of the birthplace, my job is to research and care for the materials of Daisy’s life and work. It’s a dream job for me—a former Girl Scout Brownie who loves museums, women’s history, and working with girls. I’m also grateful to the many women and men before me, including Fran Powell Harold and Katherine Knapp Keena, whose years of service to our Movement and the birthplace have helped Daisy’s legacy thrive. By the way, the best part: the birthplace is perhaps the only museum in the entire country designed with girls in mind! Truly, this is your museum.

What will you discover when you visit the birthplace? Come find out. Our new 2016 Troop Experience, “Be True to Your Selfie,” uses portraits of Daisy and many other materials from her life to consider how women have been represented over time. Come see firsthand what it meant for Daisy to boldly step out of the life prescribed to her and become a courageous leader. Girl Scout Juniors through Girl Scout Ambassadors can learn more about and register for the Troop Experience at the birthplace. (Please note, you may book up to six months in advance, but you must book no less than one month in advance). In addition to the Troop Experience, there’s so much for everyone to see and do here. My team and I look forward to welcoming you!

Can’t visit us this year? Follow us on Facebook and our website to learn about future programs.