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Girl Scouting's centennial illustrates how movement has evolved

January 25, 2012|By Daniel Siegal, daniel.siegal@latimes.com
  • Christie Crahan, dressed as Girl Scouts founder Juliet Low of 1912, shows young scouts the grounds at the Lanterman House, Tuesday, January 17, 2012. (photo by Mike Mullen)
Christie Crahan, dressed as Girl Scouts founder Juliet…

Girl Scouts across America are celebrating the organization’s 100th anniversary this year, and La Cañada Flintridge’s Lanterman House is getting in on the festivities.

The museum will be opening an exhibition on the history of the Girl Scouts on Feb.5 and hosting a birthday party for scouting on March 18.

Christie Crahan, a member of the Girl Scouts Greater Los Angeles Council’s Heritage Committee, said the abiding theme of the exhibition and events is the connection between the organization’s past and present.

“The whole exhibit is going to explore how Girl Scouts has evolved and changed, and what it did for the 21st-century woman,” she said.

Crahan said the Heritage Committee pulled from its own collection, as well as from private collections of Girl Scout memorabilia, to put together a group of photographs, videos, uniforms, books and dolls that explains the organization’s growth over the past 100 years — including some wardrobe changes.

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“There are [early] uniforms that are not unlike [those of] the Boy Scouts,” she said. “The Boy Scouts have pretty much stayed the same, but girls being girls, the uniforms have changed dramatically over the years,” she said.

As for how the centennial came to La Cañada, Melissa Patton, Lanterman House’s executive director, said that she reached out to the Los Angeles council after a volunteer mentioned the anniversary year.

“We actually instigated it,” she said. “I contacted the Greater Los Angeles Council and … put forth our argument that we were a beautiful historic house and a resource of community, and all about the history of the valley, and how active girls were in Scouts here in the valley.”

Although Patton is a former Girl Scout, she said she was surprised to learn so much about the organization’s history while arranging the displays.

“I’ve learned something that I think is really important, which is that the Girl Scouts is an organization that has evolved and has changed with the changing times in the 20th century,” she said. “I didn’t realize how good they’d been at doing that until we started working on this exhibition.”

While the Girl Scouts have changed over the last century, Crahan said that the Lanterman House, built in 1915 for the pioneer Lanterman family, had the historical character necessary to be the right fit for the centennial events.

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