New Commission: The Scout Association!

We’re chuffed to share the work from our latest commission with The Scouts! In this post, we’ll share not only the brilliant collections we produced together but also talk a little about the steps involved in the commissioning process.

The finish scouts collections, including two sets of postcards, a replica 'Point-It-Out' book, a 3D print of a ARP warden's helmet and a 3D printed replica of a wooden hand-carved logbook.
The two finished collections: Home Front, and Moving Collections. The commission included postcards, a replica ‘Point-It-Out’ book, a 3D print of a ARP warden’s helmet and a 3D printed replica of a wooden hand-carved logbook.

In 2018, The Scouts Association received a National Lottery Heritage Fund grant to run a project, ‘Moving Connections: Scouting and Displaced People’. It centred on increasing awareness of refugees and migration and developing young people’s empathy skills, using the Scouts refugee and displaced person collection as a springboard.

The project included running workshops integrating objects, stories, creative writing and art to help children explore the topic of refugees and displaced people. These workshops were run in schools and in collaboration with author Jane Ray and charity EmpathyLab and proved a great success.

Caroline Hamson with pupils exploring items from the heritage collection during one of the workshops

Following the workshops, the Scouts’ Heritage Collections Officer, Caroline Hamson, approached us with the idea of commissioning collections that can be borrowed by Scout groups, allowing them to run a condensed version of the workshops. The Box could act as the perfect way to facilitate these outreach workshops, and we couldn’t wait to get started!

Caroline signs the guestbook

Following our initial communications, Caroline visited our Hoxton HQ to try out a Box, explore some existing collections and — with neither of us having any Scouting experience — tell us a little more about The Scout Association and its archive. We learned about all the different work Scouts did on the Home Front during the war as well as The Scout International Relief Service and discussed a little about the kinds of objects in the collection.

Following this meeting we kicked off the commission and arranged a visit for George and Charlie to visit the home of Scouting, the beautiful Gilwell Park.

Visit and Object Selection

It’s certainly one of our favourite aspects of a commission to visit the site of the commissioner and rummage about in the collection with the education or curatorial teams to figure out a good story for the collection.

We ultimately decided to create two collections: On the Home Front which tells of what life was like during wartime and how Scouts contributed to the war effort at home, and ‘Moving Connections: The Scout International Relief Servicewhich documents the work of Scouts in Europe after the war had ended.

3D Digitisation

Each collection we made includes one 3D print and eight or nine postcards. As with most collections, much of the Scouts’ archival materials are 2D: photos, documents. but along with Caroline we were able to pick out two really nice objects that we knew would digitise well. The first was an ARP (Air Raid Precautions) warden’s helmet: a great symbol of the roles played during the war and was no doubt a comforting sight to see during a wartime bombing raid.

Charlie doing photogrammetry image capture of the ARP warden’s helmet at Gilwell Park near London

The second 3D object from the The Scout International Relief Service collection was a Prisoner of War camp logbook. This is a particularly special object because it belonged to scouts who were interned at Miranda de Ebro, a Spanish concentration camp. The book is made up of three intricately carved wooden panels.

Left: Hand-carved logbook from Camp Miranda in Spain. Right: 3D printed replica used to hold the collection.

Replica ‘Point It Out’ Book

As well as the postcards and 3D prints we wanted to create a replica of the ‘Point It Out’ book. Scouts would have used this book a means of communicating as they worked throughout post-way Europe; it features pages and pages of beautifully illustrated images that the user could point at in order to overcome any language barriers they may come up against.

Replica Point It Out booklet given to Scouts in Europe

We worked with printmaker Takako Copeland (who made the beautiful container for our Bata box back in May) to create the replica of the book. Each page was scanned-in, cleaned up and printed out before being wrapped in a nice thick cover featuring all of the original artwork. The book also has one of our metal stickers on it so it can be booped along with the other items in the collections.

The finished article…

The collections have already been used at an event, the Gilwell Reunion at Gilwell Park, and we’ve already had a note from Simon, a Scout leader in London, who’s interested to help his charges attain their Digital Maker badge by making a Box! We’re excited about visiting with him, and hearing more about the recent Scouts & Raspberry Pi partnership, which we’d love to be involved with somehow.

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