Scout history commemorated at New Haven Museum

As the Special Projects Coordinator at New Haven Museum, Milford resident and alderwoman, Karen Fortunati, developed a new scout heritage badge program at the museum based on the Gilbert Jerome exhibit, and she coordinated a commemoration ceremony which will take place July 11.

The New Haven Museum will host Boy Scout Troop 41, of Woodbridge, and Troop 401, of East Haven to provide a color guard and commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the death of New Haven’s Lt. Gilbert Jerome, who was a fighter pilot in France during WWI.

At 1:30 p.m. the uniformed scouts and WWI reenactors will assemble in the museum rotunda and bear the American and Boy Scout flags up the staircase to the museum auditorium for the commemoration. The public, and the scouting community, is invited to attend.

At 2 p.m., following the commemoration, Troop 41 members will complete work on their Scouting Heritage Merit Badge while learning about Lt. Jerome and the history and evolution of Boy Scouts, both nationally and locally. The merit badge program will conclude at 5 p.m.

Jerome was the first Scout Executive of the Boy Scouts in New Haven (1915). He was considered one of the best scouts in the country, and his loss was felt for many years, museum officials said. In fact, a campsite at the scouts’ Camp Sequassen, in Torrington, was named in Jerome’s memory.

New Haven Boy Scouts performed a color guard ceremony for Jerome nearly 100 years ago when his remains were brought to final rest in the Elm City in Evergreen Cemetery.

Jerome is the focus of the New Haven Museum exhibit “Gilbert Jerome: New Haven’s WWI Aviator,” which includes memorabilia on loan from the Connecticut Yankee Council, Boy Scouts of America — Jerome’s dog tags, the altimeter and a strut from his wooden aeroplane, the cross that marked his original gravesite — and excerpts from his diary, letters, sketches, and tiny watercolors he sent home from “in the field.”