The Man Behind The Boy Scout Museum
The Boy Scouts of America has a rich history. Founded in 1910, it quickly became one of the largest youth organizations in the United States. And a lot of that rich history can be found right here in the Sioux Empire.
“It just gave me such a foundation for my life,” said Reid Christopherson of Garretson.
Christopher has been in the Boy Scouts of America Program since he was in grade school. He started off as a Cub Scout, and eventually earned the coveted title of Eagle Scout. Forty-nine-years later, he still serves the organization as an adult leader.
“It fills a tremendous need within our society to expose young men and young women to so many programs of leadership, service, and the life saving, citizenship, character building,” said Christopherson.
And almost just as long as he’s been in scouting, he has been collecting scouting memorabilia.
“The basic things the knives, the flash lights, the canteens,” said Christopherson. “The Boy Scouts of America, from the earliest days, did a wonderful job of looking for marketing opportunities, whether that was with cameras or toys, different types of things.”
Christopher says the items are representative of the scouting experience, hence the name of where they’re displayed: ‘Scouter’s Attic’.
Christopherson said, “As far as the Boy Scout Office having a museum of this nature, this is very, very unique and probably one of maybe one or two in the nation that would have a museum of this size within their structure.”
Christopherson estimates that 98 percent of the items at the museum inside the Boy Scout Sioux Council Office in Sioux Falls are his.
“There’s only a portion of my collection that’s in here. I certainly ran out of museum long before I ran out of stuff. My wife would affirm that factor,” Christopherson said laughing.
Christopherson says the best part of his collection is being able to share it with others.
“It’s especially fun to be in here and to hear a grandfather or a father with a young scout and say, ‘Ah, that’s the flash light I had. That’s the handbook I had. I had a uniform that looked like that.'” And, that’s what I want to evolve and evoke is the memories of their experiences through the items that are on display,” Christopherson said.
In fact, Christopherson’s most prizes possessions aren’t those that hold the most value. They’re the ones that carry the most memories, the items that came from his own experience and those of his sons’.
Christopherson said, “I would hope that it would remain as some type of a future legacy.”
A legacy that Christopherson says he’s not done creating just yet.
Reid says many of his family members have been in Boy Scouts or are married to Scouts. Even though the organization is expanding some their programs to include girls, he says his young granddaughter isn’t convinced. She says she wants to be a Girl Scout, which is just fine by him.