On Friday, 19 July, a free exhibition of 23 oil paintings by famed illustrator Norman Rockwell will open at the Church History Museum of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The paintings were created for the Brown & Bigelow Scouting calendar, popular in the U.S. in 1930s, '40s and '50s, and appeared in Boys’ Life, the monthly magazine of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA).
Though Rockwell may be best known for his Saturday Evening Post cover art, the artist created hundreds of illustrations related to Scouting. From 1925 to 1976, he created paintings for the Boy Scout calendar, which were then featured on the cover of Boys’ Life each February.
The exhibition, American Originals: Norman Rockwell and Scouting, will be open through 31 December 2013 and is part of the collection of the National Scouting Museum in Irving, Texas. It was brought to the museum to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the charter agreement between the Church and BSA. Officials from the Church and BSA began discussions about commemorating the 100th anniversary about two years ago. Commemorations of the relationship took place in the 25th, 50th and 75th anniversary years as well.
The museum has also created an accompanying exhibit about the history of Scouting and the Church. With young patrons in mind, curators designed the exhibit to evoke a Scout camp, “Camp Good Turn,” and scouts who attend can use the exhibit to fulfill some merit badge requirements. Curators developed hands-on stations that highlight original Boy Scout activities from the early 20th century, including tracking games, semaphore flags and knot tying. The exhibit will be open through October of next year.
Both exhibits include historical Scouting uniform pieces and other objects. The Rockwell exhibit displays some of the same items that appear in the paintings. For more information about the exhibits, please see our news story and fact sheet. B-roll for journalists is available here and SOTs here.
The Church History Museum is located directly west of Temple Square at 45 North West Temple Street in Salt Lake City. The museum is open from 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. on weekdays and 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Saturdays, Sundays and most holidays. For additional information, contact the museum at 801-240-3310 or see history.lds.org.