Arsenals Under Attack!

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Date: December 2, 2014
Contact: Gavin Gardner, (413) 734-8551

SPRINGFIELD, MA: Springfield Armory National Historic Site welcomes the public to the special exhibitArsenals Under Attack! Daniel Shays' Assault on Springfield & John Brown's Raid on Harpers Ferry, from December 2014 through March 22, 2015. Admission is free.

This exhibit is a terrific opportunity for visitors to witness two stories of rebels that transformed the United States. First, Daniel Shays carried out a militia strike against the Springfield Arsenal in an attempt to force the government to stop financially oppressing Revolutionary War veterans, farmers and others. This attack on the Springfield Arsenal led directly to the creation of the US Constitution, to bestow rights to US citizens while ensuring that a rebellion similar to Shays' would never again occur.

Second, John Brown orchestrated a group assault on the Harpers Ferry VA arsenal. It was an extreme action in an effort to end slavery. Brown's drastic move captured the attention of the nation and contributed to the start of the Civil War that eventually led to the Emancipation Proclamation freeing the enslaved people of the north and south.

The Arsenals Under Attack! exhibit draws visitor's in to view images and objects, and make sense of period quotes that challenge them to better understand the controversial men, their actions and the consequences for the United States. Several thought provoking exhibit panels set the reader up to compare and contrast the supporters of Brown and Shays' actions with those people who considered both men to be dangerous villains with dangerous intentions. Visitors are encouraged to voice their own opinions about these fervent men who were instrumental in shaping US thoughts and laws in an exhibit response notebook.

Chief of Interpretation Joanne M. Gangi-Wellman says that "Shays and Brown represent a part of Springfield Armory history not covered in our permanent exhibits. Educators from Springfield and surrounding communities are lining up school groups who study both Shays Rebellion and John Brown's Raid in middle and high schools. The special exhibit is fascinating, disturbing and encourages visitors to grapple with actions of these passionate men who lived in Springfield and Western MA."

Springfield Armory National Historic Site commemorates and preserves the site of our Nation's first armory, established in 1794. It is the home of the world's largest historic American military firearms collection. The site is openWednesdaySunday 9 AM- 5 PM. Admission is free. For information call 413-734-8551, check or go to our    


Last updated: February 26, 2015

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Springfield Armory National Historic Site
One Armory Square
Suite 2

Springfield, MA 01105


(413) 734-8551

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