by Marty Mayfield
CIMARRON — Scouts, Philmont Scout ranch staff and many well-wishers and dignitaries including NM Governor Susana Martinez were on hand Saturday morning September 15th to officially dedicate the new National Scouting Museum at Philmont Scout Ranch.
In December of 2016, the Boy Scouts of America decided to relocate the National Scouting Museum from Irving, Texas to Philmont Scout Ranch in northeastern New Mexico along the historic Santa Fe Trail. The new 21,000 square foot museum will house artifacts and memorabilia from over 100 years of scouting history as Rick Bragga, Chairman of the National Scouting Museum Committee, noted in his comments that there are over 6,000 square feet of exhibit space with a half an acre of the plaza to grow.
Just some of the exhibits in the museum include a knife and rifle that Kit Carson carried, and a mud wagon that traveled the Santa Fe Trail between Cimarron and Rayado. Other artifacts include Native American pottery and baskets and 19th-century maps of the Maxwell Land Grant. There is also a library and reading room in the facility for scouts to come and read in the leisure time they might have.
Temple Sloan, Chairman of the National Scouting Museum Campaign, noted the building is paid for, not a nickel is owed and they have over $2 million dollars in an endowment fund to help manage the museum and see that it goes on well into the future. Dr. Carl Marchetti is one of those team members who has helped to raise the necessary funds to help get the building built. Marchetti helped to develop an endowment fund of $8 million that goes to help fund activities in the Boys Scouts of America. He noted that the proceeds from that endowment fund go to the general activities of the BSA.
The museum began in 1959 when the Gale Johnston Family built the first museum in Pennsylvania. In 1986 it spent 15 years at Western Kentucky University in western Kentucky before moving on to a location next door to the National Scouting Office in 2002. Bragga noted the museum will see more visitors in one summer and fall season than it did in an entire year in Dallas.