John Dyer-Hurdon Scout Museum

Dyer-Hurdon and Scouts

New Museum Hails History of American Scouts

Old uniforms, memorabilia on display to mark Scouting's 75th birthday

By Robert Selwa - Macomb Daily Staff Writer - 1991


WASHINGTON TOWNSHIP - Southeast Michigan's first museum devoted to the history of the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts has been established here, thanks to a man who loves scouting and has been active in it for many fond years. John Dyer-Hurdon began the Washington Scouting Museum from his own collection of scouting items and those of friends in scouting.


The Scouting Museum occupies a large room in the former Washington High School on Van Dyke, a half-mile north of 26 Mile Road. Other parts of the building are used as the Washington Historical Museum. Both museums are open 1 to 5 p.m. the second and fourth Sundays of each month. The opening of the Scouting Museum coincided with the 75th anniversary of scouting in the United States. "I approached the Washington Historical Society with the idea of having a scouting museum here and they were tickled with the idea," said Dyer-Hurdon.


The oldest uniform in the museum dates back to 1912, a Boy Scout patrol leader uniform. The oldest Girl Scout uniform dates back to 1924. Trails medals from trail hikes all over the United States, such as the Kettle Moraine Trail of Wisconsin and the Covered Bridge Trail of Indiana, are highlighted.


Dyer-Hurdon provided his collection of 240 coffee mugs to the museum. "It's a tradition in scouting that when two adults meet, they have a cup of coffee together. We collect coffee mugs from wherever we go," he related. He found some of the items in the museum at flea markets, such as a 1937 National Jamboree staff neckerchief. The scouts held their first national jamboree in the U.S. that year in Washington, D.C. at the invitation of President Franklin D. Roosevelt.


Scouting originated in England, Dyer-Hurdon noted, when Sir Robert Baden-Powell organized a camp for 20 boys in 1907. He did so upon discovering that many military troops had grown up in cities without any knowledge of survival in the wilderness. The movement was brought to the United States by a Chicago Newspaper publisher, William D. Boyce. "He was lost in a London fog, and a Boy Scout helped him find his way," Dyer-Hurdon related. "He was so impressed with the helpfulness and leadership the boy had that he promoted and helped organize the Boy Scouts in the United States."


That was in 1910 - 81 years ago.


The Girl Scouts began in the United States in 1912 with the first troop in Savannah, Georgia.


Now, as then, Scouting promotes the attributes that Baden-Powell set forth as the finest for both children and adults - trustworthiness, loyalty, helpfulness, friendship, courtesy, kindness, obedience, cheerfulness, thriftiness, bravery, cleanliness and reverence. Scouts explore nature and develop skills such as that the Indians and the pioneers had, Dyer-Hurdon noted.


Old copies of Baden-Powell's books and early scouting manuals and equipment are part of the Washington Scouting Museum.


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