Antique and Collectable
Firearms and Militaria Headquarters
Number 1, July 5, 2001
Celebrating Five Years Of Service
To Our Collector Friends!
copyright 2001 All rights reserved
Summer Travel Recommendations
for the Firearms or Military History Enthusiast
Summer is a great opportunity to visit interesting places
you always wanted to see, either in your local area, or many miles away.
Tell your skeptical friends that you are going to visit historic sites
and learn more about the men and artifacts that have won and protected
our great country's freedom.
If your family does not fully share your enthusiasm historical
places, you may want to squander some time and money at Rodent World or
other frivolous places to satisfy the spouse and kids, or at least treat
them to some good meals.
Here are a few highly recommended sites in different parts
of the country:
Springfield, Mass- Springfield Armory Museum- run by
the National Park Service with extremely well done history of the Armory
and its role in arming the U.S. military from 1795 until its closure for
political reasons about 1970. The best U.S. martial arms collection in
the world. Great exhibits, interesting video, comfy chairs, clean rest
rooms. Free. Must see this one! (413)734-8551 http://www.nps.gov/spar/home.html.
Drop the family off at the Basketball Hall of Fame if they protest “Not
ANOTHER gun place!”
Windsor, VT- American Precision Museum- In the old Robbins
& Lawrence factory building that has close ties to Sharps rifles, M1841
“Mississippi” rifle contracts, and the place that got the Brits into the
interchangeable parts business in 1856. Lamson, Goodnough & Yale
made muskets here during the Civil War. A small section of a working rifle
making factory is set up along with lots of stuff devoted to machine tools
(lathes, milling machines, shapers, planers, etc.). Neat, historic,
nice town off the beaten track. (802)674-5781. Ben & Jerry’s
ice cream factory tour is about 2 hours north, further away from anywhere.
West Point, NY- U.S. Military Academy Museum- Great exhibits,
and being around the Cadets makes you proud to be an American and confident
in the future of our Army. http://www.usma.army.mil/Museum/
Valley Forge, PA- Valley Forge Military Park-
No kneeling in the snow to pray this summer, but be sure to see the George
Neumann collection of Revolutionary War arms at the visitor center.
Philadelphia, PA- Penn's landing- USS Olympia- Dewey's flagship
at Manila Bay nicely preserved. along with WW2 submarine USS Becuna.
Gettysburg. PA- Gettysburg battlefield- Very historic, very commercial,
but worth the stop anyway. Rent the movie (Gettysburg or Pickett's
Charge??) and watch it before you go, and let the kids see where it really
happened at the Round Tops, Devil's, Den, and Cemetery Ridge. No
drinking from Spangler's Spring. The Virginia battlefields are better
in my opinion, but again, study up before you go. Check out the guides
by my old professor, Dr. Jay Luvaas.
Aberdeen, MD- Army Ordnance Museum- Aberdeen Proving Grounds-
You gotta see the "mile of tanks" along the entrance road as well as the
museum. Just about anything that goes "bang" is included here.
Sadly, many early tanks and artillery pieces are displayed outdoors where
they are rusting away, so see them as soon as you can. http://www.ordmusfound.org/visit.html
Fairfax, VA- NRA Headquarters- National Firearms Museum-.
Probably the most appealing gun museum in the country. Great stuff
with superb presentation that even non-gun lovers will enjoy. Free,
10-4 daily except major holidays. If not a NRA member, you should
sign up while you are there. Special Beretta display going on this
summer. Excellent cafeteria just across the driveway is open to the
public. Located in clean and safe Fairfax, not in crime plagued and filthy
Washington, DC where victims are prevented from arming themselves.
Washington, DC- Smithsonian- Been a while since we visited
there, but the Air and Space museum has a wonderful section on military
aviation. The History museum had some excellent Revolutionary war
exhibits, but I understand that the "politically correct" management is
embarrassed by the people and material that won and defends our freedom,
so I am not sure what is left.
Washington, DC- Washington Navy Yard- Located in a bad
section of DC but a great place once you get there. Visit a destroyer
(DD-931 class) that is open to the public. Lots of great Navy Displays
in the old Naval Gun factory, not just ordnance related. The U.S.
Marine Corps Historical Center and Museum is also located in the Navy Yard.
Quantico, VA- USMC Air-Ground Museum- right off I-95, about two
miles into the Marine base and around the corner from where the President's
"Marine One" helicopter lives. Very interesting, with emphasis on
WW1 and more recent. Lots of neat stuff from small arms to planes
and tanks. 703-784-2606
Newport News, VA- Mainers' Museum- the best nautical museum
in the country, and one of the best in the world. Figure heads (some
nekkid women!) are impressive. Your mind will really boggle at the
unbelievable detail and beauty of the miniature ship models done by August
Crabtree. Worth the visit for those alone. Also have the propeller
from USS Monitor there. Allow several hours to enjoy this one.
Fort Lee, VA- U.S. Army Quartermaster Museum- (Off I-95
south of Richmond). Really cool collection of uniforms and other
stuff that the QMC takes care of (food, etc.). http://www.qmmuseum.lee.army.mil/
Fort Eustis, VA- U.S. Army Transportation Corps Museum-
(Off I-64 just east of Williamsburg). Trucks, trains, half-tracks,
etc. nicely displayed, a lot more to this than most people realize.
http://www.eustis.army.mil/dptmsec/museum.htm Look for signs
along I-64 for Pierce's BBQ. Get the BBQ sandwich with coleslaw on
it. (Sounds weird, but tastes great!)
Williamsburg- Colonial Williamsburg- Pricey and often crowded,
but undoubtedly the best interpretation of the Colonial era anywhere.
You will love the gunsmith and the powder magazine and the rest of the
family will find things they like even better.
Fayetteville, NC- Ft. Bragg- Airborne & Special
Operations Museum- (Have not seen this one, but supposed
to be excellent) http://www.asomf.org/home.htm
Charleston, SC area- Aircraft Carrier Yorktown military
museum is nice. Make sure you get out to Fort Moultrie. This
has the complete evolution of coastal defense fortifications and armament
nicely exhibited. This is where they fired the first shot at Ft. Sumter.
Fort Wagner on the southern side of the harbor (nothing left to see), is
the place depicted in "Glory". Rent the video before you go.
Boat ride to Fort Sumter is marginally interesting. California Dreaming
restaurant is excellent and not expensive. Park downtown by the "Battery
Park" and walk around and peek into the gardens of the nearby homes.
Really beautiful. Let the spouse buy a "Charleston basket" from the ladies
who make them in the Charleston market.
Savannah, GA- Follow the driving tour for a good look at
the beautifully restored sections of the city. Fort Jackson is interesting
and small. Fort Pulaski on nearby Cockspur Island was where they
proved that masonry forts were obsolete due to the introduction of rifled
artillery firing explosive projectiles. Thick walls, big cannons,
big holes. Artillery 1, Forts 0.
Fernandina Beach, FL-Fort Clinch- (right across from the
Georgia border on the Atlantic coast). State run park with a neat
old brick fort that is virtually unchanged from its earliest appearances.
The start of the "Sea Islands" which still preserve a distinctive way of
life, as described in Pat Conroy or Eugenia Price.
(North GA, SW Tenn) Chickamauga-Chatanooga National Battlefield Fuller
Collection- Up north of Atlanta. The finest U.S.
martial arms collection on display outside of Springfield Armory and Rock
Island Arsenal. Lookout Mountain battlefield tour gives new insights into
the ferocity of fighting in difficult terrain.
Pensacola, FL- Naval Aviation Museum, NAS Pensacola.-
A big "Top Gun" F-14 out in front, but inside they have oodles of great
planes and other aviation stuff. IMAX theater (check the K-row of
seats). (850) 452-3604 http://www.pcola.com/navy.html
(Sonny's BBQ by the airport just off of I-10 is great, as are all the Sonnys'
chain. Redneck formal (shoes and shirt) and homely help, but great
Great Plains & Mountain West
Ft. Walton Beach, FL- Hurlburt Field- USAF Aircraft Armament Museum-
A number of great planes on display, but inside they really get into the
armament that allows aircraft to kill people or break things. Their
extensive small arms collection is mostly a meaningless jumble but rest
is well done. (850)882-4062
New Orleans, LA- National D-Day Museum- have not been to this
one, but reports are that it is superb. (504) 527-6012 http://ddaymuseum.org/home.htm
Cody, Wyoming (70 miles east of Yellowstone)- Buffalo Bill
Historical Center- (home of the Cody Firearms Museum and Western art,
Indian artifacts, etc.). One of the finest museum complexes in the country,
and even without the superb Cody Firearms Museum (greatly expanded from
the old Winchester factory collection) this would be well worth the visit.
Huge and varied collection of Indian items and western art (including most
of Frederic Remington's studio) that is worth seeing in addition to the
exceptionally well done gun displays. You will need most of a day
for this place. Lots of touristy places in town but BBHC is the one
you must see. (307)587-4471 http://www.bbhc.org
. The drive west to Yellowstone is one of the most beautiful in the
Fort Laramie, WY- Ft. Laramie National Historic Site-
Southwest of Mt. Rushmore, in the middle of nowhere, but really well done.
Gift shop has superb western military book selection. (307)837-2221 http://www.nps.gov/fola/laramie.htm
Fort Bridger, WY- Site of the old Mountain Man Rendezvous of
the 1820-1840 fur trade era, with reenactment on Labor Day that is tremendous
fun. Bridger's fort and the later US Army post (1850-1890) are both
preserved. Just off I-80 exit 34. (307)782-3842 http://commerce.state.wy.us/sphs/bridger.htm
Ogden, UT- Union Station Museum- John M. Browning Collection-
Has the workshop of John M. Browning, one of the greatest gun inventors
ever, and his hand made prototypes of many of his famous models.
This guy invented the Winchester 1885, 1886, 1894 rifles, the 1897 shotgun,
M1911 pistol, and .30 and .50 caliber Browning Machine guns, all of which
are still being made today, virtually unchanged. Other than dirt
and water, there are not too many items that have been around that long
that have not become obsolete. Besides the gun stuff, they have extensive
displays of trains, classic cars, pretty rocks and gems. (801)629-8535
Several good gun or antique shops across the street.
Salt Lake City, UT- Fort Douglas Military Museum-
Excellent coverage of Utah military history 1862 to present with lots of
good displays. Nice selection of cannons too. (801) 581-1251 http://www.fortdouglas.org
Dayton, OH- Air Force Museum- Wright Patterson Air Force
Base. Great place loaded with neat planes. (937)255-3286
Rock Island, IL- Rock Island Arsenal Museum- Home of the Army's
John M. Browning firearms museum with collection of martial arms second
only to Springfield, plus other interesting items. Reference notebooks
with added information on the arms on display are very useful resource
if you have special interests. (309)782-5021 http://www.ri.disa.mil/docs/history/arsenal.htm
Fort Riley, KS- U.S. Cavalry Museum and the 1st Infantry Division
Museum. Well worth the visit. http://www.riley.army.mil/museums/museums.html
Ft. Leavenworth, KS- Frontier Army Museum- Good variety and lots
of horse drawn vehicles- http://leav-www.army.mil/museum/
FIND MORE GREAT MUSEUMS with these
This is just a short list of many great places you might enjoy.
At OldGuns.net (posted now or coming soon):
Several M1903 Springfield barreled actions with BRAND NEW military barrels.
Several nice Krags and trapdoors and an excellent WW1 M1911 Colt.
Lots of Japanese uniform items
Large lot of material from famous "Bannerman's Island Arsenal" (interview
with a guy who worked there coming in next newsletter.)
Johnson Bayonets, great Civil War NCO sword and some nice M1905 bayonets.
Large lots of collectors ammo and books.
(Note: Darwin Awards are earned by those who remove themselves from
the gene pool by extraordinarily stupid actions, demonstrating the survival
of the fittest members of a species.) Used courtesy of http://www.darwinawards.com
Dodging Drinking Dues
2001 Darwin Award Nominee
Unconfirmed by Darwin
(15 May 2001, Cairo) Two whiskey-swilling men tried to dodge their bar
tab by downing one last drink, jumping in the Nile, and swimming for the
far shore. One, a 27-year-old taxi driver, misjudged his ability to stay
afloat. He drowned en route, successfully avoiding paying the $180 bill.
His companion reached the far shore a few hundred meters away, only to
be arrested by police who had been summoned by the shortchanged nightclub
Next time you and your friends try to dodge a bar tab, don't drink
yourself senseless first. You might die or, even more dreadful, be stuck
with the entire bar tab!
History Trivia (WW2 this time)
1. The first German serviceman killed in the
war was killed by the Japanese
(China, 1937). The first American serviceman killed was killed by the
Russians (Finland 1940). The highest-ranking American killed was Lt.
Gen.Lesley McNair, killed by the US Army Air Corps. So much for allies.
2. The youngest US serviceman was 12 year old Calvin Graham,
USN. He was
wounded in combat and given a Dishonorable Discharge for lying about
age. (His benefits were later restored by act of Congress)
3. At the time of Pearl Harbor the top US Navy command was called
(pronounced "sink us"), the shoulder patch of the U.S. Army's 45th
division was the Swastika, and Hitler's private train was named "Amerika"
All three were soon changed for PR purposes.
Site Insights - When Was Your Gun Made?
Many people want to know when their gun was made. While
the only way to be absolutely certain is to get a letter from the manufacturer's
records, a time consuming and expensive project. However, for most
purposes, you will be able to satisfy your curiosity by using the "date
of manufacture" tool on the lower part of our left hand frame. You
will find instructions there on how to use it. While based on the
best available references, they are often off by plus or minus a year.
Collector Group- Garand Collectors Association
Address: P.O. Box 187 Angola, IN 46703
$20 per year
Main Area of Interest: U.S. Rifle, Caliber .30
M1, the “Garand” and all its variations, accessories, markings, usage,
etc. Includes a few shooters as well as collectors.
Geographic area of members: Nationwide coverage.
Publications: GCA Newsletter, quarterly, 24
pp glossy 8 ½ x 11 with many photos, detailed drawings; question
and answer column, free for sale and wanted section for members.
Meetings: (occasional- in conjunction with major gun shows-
Next one in Reno, NV 17-19 August 2001)
Prominent Members: Noted authors Scott Duff, Billy Pyle,
Who should belong: Certainly anyone who thinks that they
might need more than a single M1 rifle in their collection. Collectors
of U.S. arms of the WW2 through Vietnam period should also seriously consider
membership, as much info is applicable beyond just the context of the M1
Observations/comments/recommendations: A great group of
true collectors helping each other. Especially good about alerting
people to fakes and what to look for. Leading members recognize that
there is often a gap between what is stated in official documentation and
the realities of what took place under military control. Most articles
are authoritative and valuable reference material. Classified ads
work well. GCA actively supports the Springfield Armory Museum.
Good group to support even if you are only marginally interested in the
Membership Applications: Send for application.
This is the end of the OldGuns.net Newsletter
John Spangler & Marc Wade
We hope it was useful or interesting. We invite you to
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Militaria Headquarters, http://oldguns.net
when you are ready to add to your collection, or even if you decide to
sell all or part of it.
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