Armory Day 2013
Contact: Joanne Gangi-Wellman, (413) 734-8551
SPRINGFIELD, MA: Armory Day 2013 at Springfield Armory NHS will commemorate the 150th Anniversary of the Civil War.After a year hiatus, blank firing demonstrations are on the schedule again. Mark the date of Saturday, June 22 from 10:00 am to 4:30 pm. Visitors of all ages will be dazzled by the blank firing of Civil War cannon and rifles,a spectacular performance of Civil War music and dances, and enjoy conversing with Civil War infantry groups. Food vendors will be available.Shuttle service will be available at convenient locations. All events are free. RAIN CANCELS.
"The importance of Armory Day is to experience the site and its history. Springfield Armory was indispensable during the Civil War by manufacturing hundreds of thousands of rifle muskets for the Union army. These firing demonstrations are something that the average person rarely, if ever, sees, especially in the north" explained Joanne M. Gangi-Wellman, Chief of Interpretation at Springfield Armory NHS.
Blank firing demonstrations remind us of the ferociousness of war. Through two scheduled demonstrations at 10:30am and 3:00pm, audience members will smell the acrid sulfur, hear the blasts of cannon and rifles and wonder at the courage of soldiers of yesterday and today. Infantry groups demonstrating Civil War rifles are the Peter Brace Brigade and the 10th Massachusetts Infantry. The artillery group, the 9th Battery Massachusetts Light Artillery, will fire the cannons.
At 1:00 pm, thanks in part to a grant from the Springfield Cultural Council; visitors can experience the merriment and excitement of a Civil War Ballroom. The Victorian Quadrille Orchestra and twelve performers from the Small Planet Dancers, dressed in period costumes, will captivate us through music and dances like the Virginia Reel. Josephine Sarnelli, artistic director and choreographer for the troupe, commented that "the 75 minute program will include the Grand March in which members of the audience will be able to participate."
Encampments are a large part of Armory Day. Visitors may converse with the Living History Reenactors who enthusiastically highlight their unit's responsibilities in war time and explain how weapons affected the outcome of battles during our Nation's armed conflicts. Many reenactors will be in the company of their families who portray how civilians helped their soldier husbands and communities during the Civil War.
At the intersection of State and Byers Street is the Beyers Street pedestrian gate which is open9:00 am to 5:00 pm. Free parking and shuttle service will be available throughout the day. Armory Day is cosponsored by Springfield Technical Community College.
Springfield Armory National Historic Site commemorates and preserves the site of our Nation's first armory, established in 1794. Managed with the Commonwealth of MA, Springfield Technical Community College and the National Park Service, it is the home of the world's largest historic American military firearms collection. The site is open daily, 9 AM- 5 PM. Admission is free. For information call 413-734-8551 or check www.nps.gov/spar.
Did You Know?
Author Charles Dickens toured Springfield Armory’s Hill Shops and Water Shops on his 30th birthday, February 7th, 1842, a year before publication of A Christmas Carol. The first of two visits to America, he and his wife were accompanied by the superintendent and the paymaster. Photograph © Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.