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Planning for the Birthplace's Future



Shop Entrance (concept drawing by dmdg2)

“I’ve got something for the girls of Savannah, and all of America, and all the world, and we’re going to start tonight!” - Juliette Gordon Low

In November 1953, Girl Scouts of the United States of America (GSUSA) purchased the Juliette Gordon Low Birthplace to provide a place for girls to play, work and think together as they develop leadership skills. Beloved by legions across the globe, the birthplace is maintained in the best tradition of Girl Scouts, providing girls with an inclusive, girl-led, girl-focused safe space that connects them to our history while bridging to the future.

Nearly 50 years later, in 2000, we concluded after careful study that it was time to make further investments in the site’s facilities so we could better serve our mission of building girls of courage, confidence and character, who make the world a better place.

Now, after years of work to complete important exterior and structural renovations, and careful consideration and communication with pertinent stakeholders, Girl Scouts has created our SAFE (Sustainable, Accessible, Flexible and Engaged) site use master plan in partnership with the Savannah design firm, dmdg2.

A SAFE Place for Girls

The goal of the project is to adequately attend to conservation expectations and accessibility needs so that the Juliette Gordon Low Birthplace is a SAFE (Sustainable. Accessible. Flexible. Engaged.) place for the general public to gather and explore; and perhaps more importantly, a place where every current or potential Girl Scout can find a home in a girl-centric environment that caters to her unique needs.

SUSTAINABLE

  • Resource Management
  • Environmental Sustainability
  • Growing the Girl Scout Movement

ACCESSIBLE

  • ADA Access for People with Disabilities
  • Gracious Visitor Experience
  • Bull Street Access to Retail/Site

FLEXIBLE

  • Functional Outdoor Space for Multiple Uses
  • Adaptable Spaces for New Business Strategies
  • Planning for the Future

ENGAGED

  • Interactive Programming for Today’s Girls
  • Tourism Attraction for Visitors
  • Gift to the Savannah Community

2018 Site Use Master Plan

The site use master plan identifies numerous opportunities to elevate the birthplace, improving its facilities to create 21st century experiences for 21st century girls, while continue to care for the site’s historic fabric for future generations. It will be used to facilitate long-range planning and business/operational decisions regarding the site’s facilities and visitor services.

Site Entrance via Outdoor Space (concept drawing by dmdg2)

  • Greatly increased usage and functionality as a result of a more flexible design for outdoor space: Flexibility and change are cornerstone elements of Girl Scouts, and why Girl Scouts remains the best girl leadership experience in the world for girls. The renovated outdoor space will become a central area where girls may join in ceremonies, public programming and special events throughout the year, and also will greatly expand the site’s ability to serve both visitors to Savannah and the local community. Entering the most visible Girl Scout site in the nation via a beautifully renovated outdoor space will communicate the importance of the outdoors in Girl Scout traditions and culture.
  • Furthering Girl Scouts’ commitment to accessibility in alignment with the Americans with Disabilities Act: Currently, narrow gravel paths are not accessible to individuals with limited mobility. The back entrance to the house and second floor program spaces also will be made accessible for the first time.
  • Opportunities for new research and interpretation: The renovation will create a rare opportunity for girls to engage in archeological research to determine how the site has been used over time.
  • Increased visibility for the site: The outdoor space is one of the most visible elements of the Juliette Gordon Low Birthplace and deserves to be treated with as much care and attention as the building’s exterior has in past years. Implementing the site use master plan will continue to elevate the site, helping to beautify Savannah and draw increased attention to one of the city’s most beloved treasures. The outdoor space will be as educational as it is attractive, making it unique for girls, a welcoming meeting place for the community and a destination in and of itself for visitors. Public access to the outdoor space during open hours will be a gift to city of Savannah and all who come to visit.

Outbuildings Connected to Increase Functionality (concept drawing by dmdg2)

After nearly 20 years of dreaming and planning, we are finally ready to begin this next phase of increasing the capacity of the Juliette Gordon Low Birthplace to better serve girls and guests. Stay tuned for updates as this exciting project moves ahead!


Outbuildings Connected to Increase Functionality (concept drawing by dmdg2)

Quotable Quotes

"The Juliette Gordon Low Birthplace is the heart and home of Girl Scouts; the place where we come to both honor our past and envision our future. Girl Scouts has been a dedicated steward of the site since we purchased it more than 60 years ago and, as a result, generations of visitors have been inspired to blaze their own trails as Juliette did. Now we are preparing to make additional investments in the site's facilities and outdoor space to ensure our National Historic Landmark continues to be well preserved and relevant to future generations." – Sylvia Acevedo, CEO of Girl Scouts of the USA, 2018

“Although the house itself is interesting…it is not primarily for its historic interest that the Girl Scouts have bought it. Generally speaking, it is not within our purview to own or restore old houses. But this house is different. We are interested in restoring it in order to help the citizens of our country, and particularly present and future Girl Scouts, catch a bit of the fire and spirit and determination of the young girl who began life within its walls and whose character was largely formed during her life there…To be true to [Juliette’s] ideals and her plan for the girls of the United States, the birthplace must provide opportunities for girls to talk about their dreams, their ambitions…Here girls from all parts of the USA and from neighboring countries to the north and south, as well as from distant lands, may play and work and think together.” – Dorothy Stratton, National Executive Director of Girl Scouts of the USA, 1955

“… Scouting, it rises within you and inspires you to put forth your best." – Juliette Gordon Low, 1919