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Birthplace Honored for Excellence in Education and Interpretation


JGL

At the Coastal Museums Association’s (CMA’s) membership meeting on June 6, the Juliette Gordon Low Birthplace received an award for “Excellence in Exhibition and Interpretation” for two new educational programs.

The birthplace celebrates Juliette Low’s belief in the potential of every girl and the remarkable Girl Scout Movement she founded; a Movement that changed, and continues to change, the world. The award-winning programs, Over Teacups, a tour for Girl Scout Seniors and Ambassadors, and Smart Cookies, a tour for the general public, share the history of Juliette Low and Girl Scouts by telling stories through a range of foods that bring her world to life. Both programs meld culinary and women's history to reframe the story of Juliette Low and make new connections to other trailblazing women.

Offerings include a dish inspired by Juliette Low’s family's experiences among the indigenous peoples of the Upper Midwest, a Girl Scout recipe circa World War I, and a southern staple that was served at Girl Scout fundraising dinners in the 1950s.

Woven throughout the tour are stories and foods connecting Girl Scout history to bold women from around the globe who have applied their skills both in and beyond the kitchen to make the world a better place. For example, a taste of sweet potato pie introduces Georgia Gilmore, an unsung hero of the Civil Rights Movement whose pie sales helped fund the Montgomery bus boycott and whose kitchen provided sustenance and a safe haven to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and other civil rights leaders. The time Juliette Low’s family spent in the Upper Midwest introduces the story of Winona LaDuke, an environmental activist who works to revive the wild rice harvest in Minnesota to help reduce obesity and diabetes and benefit the Ojibwe people today.                               

Over Teacups concludes with participants reflecting on the lives of women discussed on the tour and writing their own recipe for female empowerment. Catering for both programs is provided through a partnership withThrive, a woman-owned business and Savannah's only Green-Certified Caterer, which prides itself on using organic and locally sourced ingredients.

The programs were recognized for their creative approach to:

  • Rethinking the site's educational offerings to expand core stories
  • Linking past and present with themes of girls' and women's empowerment
  • Actively engaging audiences in new and surprising ways

“We are thrilled to be honored by our peers in the museum field,” said birthplace Executive Director Lisa Junkin Lopez. “We strive to create empowering experiences for Girl Scouts and the general public that challenge conventional ideas of what they can do at a historic site. These food-based tours are a perfect example of how we use history in unexpected ways to open new conversations and foster civic engagement that ultimately make the world a better place.”

The CMA is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to serving its members by providing a forum for networking, discussing issues affecting the museum community, exchanging ideas and experiences, and facilitating professional development.

The annual award is given to projects that provide interpretation and education about a story, topic, or theme, including lectures, in-school presentations, living history performances, print, media, and film. Previous winners include the Davenport House for a documentary film about yellow fever, and the State Botanical Garden of Georgia for its installation of interpretive signs discussing the site’s horticultural and historical features.

Tickets for Over Teacups are available online. Fall tour dates for Smart Cookies will be announced later this summer.