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Contact: Shera Cohen, (413) 271-3982
SPRINGFIELD, MA: Armory Day 2012 will take on a new focus and look from Armory Days of the past. While still honoring the unique history of this National Historic Site, Sunday, July 1st 10am to 4pm will be especially kid and family-friendly to include museum and grounds' tours, Revolutionary and Civil War-era music, kite flying, costumed mascots, live-actor skits, and children's book-signing. All events are free.
The importance of Armory Day is to experience the site and its history. Park Ranger led museum and grounds tours will enlighten and surprise visitors throughout the day.
"The buildings, many of which date back to the 19th century, speak to the uniqueness of the architecture, the work accomplished, and the people involved," said James M. Woolsey, Superintendent. "We want the public to understand what Springfield Armory was all about and how it contributed to the region, the nation, and the world," he continued.
Music has always been an enjoyable way to highlight and sense history. Two period bands, playing authentic instruments, will perform on the grounds morning and afternoon. The Rural Felicity Fife and Drum Band will play music of the Revolutionary War. The 77' New York Regimental Balladeers perform Civil War music. The music for the four concerts will each have a different repertoire; many include familiar tunes to sing along to.
A treat for kids and adults alike is "Let's Go Fly a Kite" happening all day. The backfield of the Springfield Armory will be the site for dozens of kites and their flyers. Participants can bring their own kites or fly one of the United States flag kites given out, on a first come basis.
Youngsters will enjoy "Picture Yourself" a chance to take a picture with famous local mascots from ll AM to l PM. Meet the Falcons' Screech, the Armor mascot, and the Quadrangle Museum's Cat in the Hat. In addition, guest appearances will be made by two Six Flags mascots.
More characters will come alive inside the museum as John Garand, creator of the MI rifle, and David Lyle, inventor of the Life Saving Gun will speak to visitors about their inventions. Actually, local actors will portray Garand and Lyle in skits, four times each throughout the day.
Finally; Elaine Cooper, award winning children's book author of the 'Deer Run' book series; will read sections of The Legacy of Deer Run. The novel is based on the author's family that worked at the Armory in 1880. The Springfield Armory NHS will host a book signing between 11 AM and 3 PM.
Cooper said, "Although the story is a fictitious account, historical facts have been carefully researched, helping transport readers to a time when life was simpler yet incredibly challenging."
Remember, Byers Street gate is open for pedestrians. Inclement weather will cancel kite flying but all other events will continue. Buildings are wheelchair accessible. Free parking and shuttle service will be available throughout the day. Armory Day is cosponsored by Springfield Armory NHS and 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.