The early years 2003 – 2004

In 2003, as plans for a new service center in Morganville NJ for Monmouth Council Boy Scouts were being developed, Scout Executive Matt Thornton and Council President Jan Wouters (both of whom have a deep appreciation for history) designated some unused space on the second floor as a “library.” Matt approached Dave Wolverton with the idea of developing this space into a library and museum because Dave had just written a book on the history of Monmouth Council and was an active collector/historian. Dave invited a number of people throughout the council who had an interest in Scouting history to organize a committee to explore the idea. The first meeting occurred in January 2004. Subsequent committee meetings were held monthly thereafter.

Rather than attempting to cover every aspect of Scouting, the committee decided very early on to focus the scope of the museum. But rather than focusing narrowly on Monmouth Council BSA, the committee chose a medium-sized scope, that is, to cover the whole state of New Jersey, and to include Girl Scouts as well.

A second major decision which was made very early was to set up a nonprofit corporation for the museum which is separate from Monmouth Council BSA. Because the scope of the collection would be larger than Boy Scouting in Monmouth county, there did not need to be a direct correlation with a single council. The committee was aware of problems which other Boy Scout museums had encountered that were council-controlled, and wanted avoid that entanglement. The committee also felt that a direct association with a Boy Scout council might make it more difficult to obtain grant money in the future from foundations or government programs that would gladly fund an historical organization.

Through the spring of 2004 “the word was put out” and donations of artifacts, equipment, and money started to come in.

An initial cache of artifacts and archival records came from the Monmouth Council. As the council staff was preparing to move from the old building in Oakhurst to the new one in Morganville, old things were found in every corner of the building, which had been the headquarters for almost 50 years.

The new council service center opened in Morganville, NJ in June 2004. A grand opening celebration was held in early July 2004. In conjunction with that event, the New Jersey Scout Museum also had its grand opening. Coincidentally, the location is just 14 miles from the site of the Johnston Historical Museum on the grounds of the BSA national headquarters when it was located in North Brunswick, NJ from 1959 to 1986. That museum is now known as the National Scouting Museum and is currently located a Philmont Scout Ranch after having been at other locations over the intervening years.

The following year a number of improvements were made in the exhibit area, such as installing UV-filtering film and blinds on the windows, putting up picture molding, and purchasing a divider. A PC and printer and PastPerfect software were obtained to catalog the artifacts being donated.

We have also provided displays at several venues:

  • 2004 University of Scouting
  • 2004 NOAC Center for OA History/OA Museum
  • 2004 Monmouth County Archives Day and annually since then
  • 2005 Intercouncil College of Commissioner Science
  • 2005 Patriot’s Path Tradeshow of Scouting
  • 2005 NESA Monmouth Council chapter Eagle Wall Kickoff
  • 2005 NESA Monmouth Council chapter Distinguished Eagle dinner
  • 2005 Monmouth County Archives Day
  • 2008 East Coast Trade-O-Ree, Monmouth Junction, New Jersey
  • 2008 New Jersey Inter-Council College of Commissioner Science, William Paterson University, Wayne, New Jersey
  • 2008 Girl Scout Swap Meet Valley Forge, Pennsylvania
  • 2010 BSA 100th Anniversary Celebrations
  • 2012 GS of the USA 100th Anniversary “Tea with Juliette”
  • 2014 and Annually at Monmouth Council BSA Annual Banquet

Exhibit Area

Exhibit Area 2004 & Vision 1.0

Our exhibit area was set up using second-hand retail store glass display cases that were donated to the Museum. The displays were installed rather hastily (to be ready for the June 2004 grand opening) and for the most part were not updated for many years. We knew we needed to update these displays in the near future but we had to wait until 2012.

We also installed a special molding (called a picture molding) high on the walls from which we can easily hang things like flags and patch blankets. It is easy to rearrange the items on the walls, and there is no need to mar the walls with holes from picture hangers. By the way, picture molding is found in many old homes, but it is not easy to locate nowadays. A local millworks made it for us. Fortunately, the hangers are widely available by mail order from companies which cater to owners of old homes.

In October 2005 we purchased several male and female mannequins secondhand from Eastern Mountain Sports. The local Boy Scout and Girl Scout councils also donated a total of five mannequins. Several have already been fitted with period uniforms.

Lucent Technologies donated 3 bookcases to us, where we have started to assemble a reference library of older Scouting books and magazines. These are available for any visitor to browse.

The room where the museum is located is almost 1000 square feet in size. Most of it is used as exhibit space, 800 square feet. An office and artifact storage area occupies about one-sixth of the space. The furniture and metal storage closets were scavenged from the old council office when it closed in 2004.

Exhibit Area 2012 – 2016 & Vision 2.0

Many years later, 2012 – 2013, we got rid of all the old second-hand retail store glass display cases and other furnishings and purchase brand new 21st century modern first-class museum grade furniture and thus vision 2.0 was born.

Transition Years 2016 – 2020

In the spring of 2016 when we lost our physical museum space, we started planning on building our own building and thus vison 3.0 was born. The physical New Jersey Scout Museum was closed and its collections were moved to secure storage facilities. Some arrangements for displays at Quail Hill Scout Reservation and Camp Sacajawea so that Scouts and Scouters can enjoy glimpses of the history of Scouting during our transition was secured with Monmouth Council BSA.

The NJSM has spent these years in working out a suitable plan for a new building that both Monmouth Council BSA and the NJSM could agree to. In fact, we reached that agreement pretty rapidly but to both of our surprises it was rejected by the Monmouth County Parks System who represents the state of New Jersey in these matters because Quail Hill Scout Reservation, owned by MCBSA, is a Green Acres supervised property. It has taken several years to get past this impasse but was accomplished.

The Future 2020 – 2023, Vision 3.0

Over the years from 2016 forward the NJSM moved forward on our Vision 3.0 Strategic Plan for 2020 – 2023. This plan not only includes the new building but many other exciting changes and projects for our future.

A formal Capital Construction Campaign will be announced shortly for the construction of a new museum Building at Quail Hill Scout Reservation in Manalapan, New Jersey. Donations will be happily accepted now. If you want details first contact our Curator who is the Chair of the New Building Campaign.

The fall of 2020 we will be working with a General Contractor and others in the building field to secure accurate estimates for the project. We will continue fund raising through 2021. We hope to award construction contracts in the fall of 2021 and start the actual construction. The plan is to start moving in to the new museum building in the spring of 2022. During the spring and into the fall we will be outfitting the inside of the new museum building and creating and installing our new exhibits and displays. The Grand Opening is now planed for November or 2022.


A Board of Trustees and Operating Committee meeting is held every month. Anyone with a sincere interest in helping with the Museum is welcome to join us. Please contact our President if you wish to be part of us.

The Website is managed by webmaster Matthew Kaufman.


All money to pay the expenses of the Museum is raised by interested people and memberships in the “Friends of the Museum” program and other donations.

With the untimely passing of Founder and Curator David Wolverton in 2007, his family made arrangements for David’s extensive personal Scout Memorabilia to be donated to the Museum along with a significant financial contribution for the perpetuation of David’s dream to discover, share and preserve Scouting history for the next generations of Scouts.