early Springfield Armory museum

Touring the Musuem about 1900
Visitors to the Musuem in the late 19th and early 20th centuries viewed a wide array of arms, including many mounted on the ceiling. The caretaker/curator is seen in the apron.

Springfield Armory NHS, US NPS

The Museum was originally located in a building on the eastern end of Armory Square. Since 1968, it has been house din the Main Arsenal Building [blt. circa 1848] on the western side of Armory Square.
 
from a postcard, circa 1900
Here's another view of the Museum interior, in a hand-colored print from a postcard. The Ager rapid-fire gun and the Requa-Billinghurst volley gun in the foreground, both early American Civil War weapons, are still part of the Musuem collection. Much of the early Asian armor and weapon collection was moved, in the mid-1900's, to the Smith Art Museum at the Springfield Museum Quadrangle, a few blocks away from Springfield Armory NHS on State Street, where it may be viewed today.

Springfield Armory NHS, US NPS

 
The Museum, circa 1930
These gun racks are used today to hold the same hundreds of Civil War rifle muskets seen above.

Springfield Armory NHS, US NPS

In the early 20th Century, the Musuem was moved to larger quarters and the bladed weapons no longer hung from the ceiling, as seen in this photograph showing the gun racks, found in the earlier images, still used in the Museum's rifle storage room. These racks were constructed by the Armory for use at the 1876 Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia.
 
rifle racks today
These early gun racks are now being replaced with modern state-of-the-art storage racks that will better protect the Armory's extraordinary collection. The old racks will, however, continue to see service for special displays and exhibits were the visual qualities of the old 19th Century racks remain unmatched.

Springfield Armory NHS, US NPS

Here are seen the 1876 gun racks holding US Model 1903 rifles in today's Musuem storage room. In the foreground may be seen US M1903 serial number 2 followed by a number of early US M1903 rifles, so-called "rod bayonet" rifles. US M1903 rifle #2 was unigue in possessing a muzzle brake forged onto the barrel during manufacture, as may be seen in this image. Unlike US M1903 #1, which was altered by up-dating, US M1903 is entirely original.

Last updated: February 26, 2015

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Mailing Address:

Springfield Armory National Historic Site
One Armory Square
Suite 2

Springfield, MA 01105

Phone:

(413) 734-8551

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