One of the most famous American artists of the 20th century is Norman Rockwell. His art is a humorous look into Americana, but did you know he got his start with the Boy Scouts of America?

In today’s Through the Lens I went to the National Scouting Museum in Irving to see their Norman Rockwell collection called the Art of Scouting.

Rockwell was born in New York and got his art training there. After he completed his training he got his first big break with Boy’s Life magazine. At the age of 19 he was paid $75 to do the cover art and one article illustration for each months magazine. He became the art editor of Boy’s Life and had a long career working with the Boy Scouts of America.

The museum has the second largest collection of Norman Rockwell art. As a scouter myself, I love Rockwell’s painting because they seem to capture a moment in time. The boys hiking up the Tooth of Time at Philmont or portaging a canoe or the scoutmaster by the fire as the boys try to get some sleep in their tent. Looking around the gallery is like many of the memories I have of past camp outs with the scout in our troop.

The Norman Rockwell Art of Scouting exhibit is only a small part of the National Scouting Museum. The museum is the size of a football field and has tons of hands-on exhibits for kids and families to enjoy. There is a full-size pinewood derby track and several cars you can choose from to race down the track. There’s also a laser-shooting gallery with lots of animated objects to hone your shooting skills, and lots of other fun things to do.

The museum is kind of a hidden gem in the metroplex. A lot of people don’t know that it is right here.

If you are a scout or scouter you should definitely make a trip to the museum. Even if you’re not a scouter, it is worth going to visit. The museum is open every day and offers free admission on Sundays and Mondays.

Mike Kinney

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