• View of Springfield Armory overlooking the city of Springfield, 1855

    Springfield Armory

    National Historic Site Massachusetts

Public Reception for Steampunk Springfield Armory Exhibition

Belli_Steampunk Remington
"World's First Automatic Handgun," by artist John Belli.
Courtesy John Belli

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News Release Date: March 28, 2014
Contact: Jennifer Zazo, (413) 734-8551

SPRINGFIELD, MA – Are you ready for the most fantastical exhibition of re-imagined weapons in the world? Springfield Armory National Historic Site kicks off the opening of its exhibition, Steampunk Springfield Armory: Reimagining Our Nation's Weaponry, with a public reception for the artists on April 5th, 2014 from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. The event presents an opportunity for visitors to view the exhibition, meet the artists, ask questions, and learn about the inspiration behind their unique and outlandish inventions. Hors d'oeuvres will be served along with a cash bar. Admission is free.

Steampunk Springfield Armory: Reimagining Our Nation's Weaponry brings together the authenticity of the nation's largest collection of military shoulder weapons with the imagination and ingenuity of some of today's most inventive, contemporary Steampunk artists. The exhibition is the first in the park's new special exhibits gallery, which resulted from a series of floor moves that took place in the museum last year. The site will host two special exhibits a year going forward. "The purpose of the space," explained Curator Alex MacKenzie, "was to create an opportunity for park staff to begin rotating objects out of the Armory's permanent collection while simultaneously expanding our capacity to tell new and exciting stories."

The staff of Springfield Armory NHS joined forces with Bruce Rosenbaum of ModVic, recently dubbed the "Steampunk Guru" by the Wall Street Journal, and a cadre of Steampunk artists to bring this project into fruition. Rosenbaum noted, "By 'Steampunking' and repurposing objects, we create meaningful connections to our past, present and future – all in one place, at the same moment in time. It's always been my dream to take the Steampunk interpretation of combining 'History + Art + Science' and the act of repurposing to help inspire a whole city. I'm thrilled to be working with the Springfield Armory's staff in a city with such a proud history of innovation, invention and many firsts."

Artists featured in the exhibit hail from Massachusetts and Vermont and have created a variety of pieces that are sure to amaze. Martin and Michael Ulman, a father and son from Roslindale, Massachusetts have numerous items on display. Jonathan Ward, of Burlington, Vermont, drew his early inspiration from Star Trek. James Kitchen, whose pieces can be seen all over Springfield, has installed his unique cannon in front of the Main Arsenal building. Bruce Fowler, of Holyoke, and John Belli, from Sharon, created fascinating pieces for the show. Bruce Rosenbaum has created a large animated "Humachine," inspired by the museum's historic 1820s Blanchard Lathe.

The opening reception is sponsored by the Springfield Armory Alliance, which promotes special events, programs, and historic preservation at Springfield Armory NHS through fundraising, advocacy and education. Exhibition will be on display through September 28, 2014.

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.

-NPS-

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