So as I mentioned yesterday
, after I got done filing my taxes, I stopped by the National Firearms Museum
, which is at NRA HQ in Fairfax (right down the road from my CPA):
I've been there before, though not in the digital camera era. You can see my full set of 50 photos here.
The exhibits started to bug me after a while. And not for any political or ideological baggage -- it's a museum full of guns at NRA headquarters, so it comes with the territory. It's for other reasons [Update:
A few weeks later, Philip Schreier of the NRA museum e-mailed me -- I posted his response, which addresses the issues I raised
The presentation for a bunch of the displays just... lacks. You've got a lot of glass display cases, relatively close together, and the lighting leads to a lot of reflections, and you've got layers of pistols in front of rifles and the like. All of which makes it really hard to get a picture where you can clearly see what's inside the case:
You can sort of see the WWII-era Japanese firearms here.
Since it's a relatively small space, I don't know what they can do, but a lighting consultant couldn't hurt. The reflection problem, for example, didn't seem quite as bad in the Marine Corps Museum
(I still need to get my pics up from March).
Similarly, some of the older, rarer, and presumably more valuable items in the Old Guns in a New World
gallery are in a kind of display bunker
, which makes it really hard to get a good view:
Okay, so asset protection is important. I get that. Then what about the diorama-ish window treatments in the Revolutionary War House display and Civil War Federal arms factory, that pretty much only serve to obstruct the view?
Left: Revolutionary War muskets. Right: Civil War carbines (note the revolver action on the middle one)
* Information Design:
In some of the cases, the numbered labels skip around, so you have to hunt around to see what item is which. That's a minor annoyance, though, compared to the info kiosks that have the information on the bulk of the firearms. In order to find out what's what, you have to:
1. Get the number off the display case (which is pretty easily overlooked, since it's on a frosted sticker on the bottom of each case) and the tag number off the item, then...
2. ...go to the kiosk, which typically serves a bunch of display cases and is invariably a few steps away and out of view from the one you want:
Modern assault and sniper rifles.
So you have to keep going back and forth from case to kiosk.
3. Not to mention having to key it in on a number pad that looks like it was pulled off a TRS-80, that throws a modal window if you try to enter a case number after the Num Lock key gets accidentally turned off (which shouldn't even be allowed):
...and that throws the same warning dialog every time the Num Lock key gets pressed (even if you're turning it back on).
Oh, and it runs on Windows -- I saw at least one kiosk that had crashed out to the desktop. (I didn't do it, but I didn't get a picture.)
Anyway, that's the whining portion of the program.
A couple more of the more notable items:
The story behind this rifle is here.
"For obvious reasons the return of this rifle after Germany is defeated would be deeply appreciated."
A strange billy club mounted on a revolver (the gun can be fired with it on), and some snub-nosed revolvers.
A closeup of assault and sniper rifes:
French FAMAS, Czech VZ.52 (not SKS, like I thought) rifle, M-16 Colt Commando (I think), M-24 sniper rifle (I think), Dragunov sniper rifle, a Valmet assault rifle, and of course, an underfolder AK-47 with bayonet.
Gyrojet carbine and rifle, which fires a mini-rocket projectile and was also mentioned in the James Bond movie You Only Live Twice.
Some sort of prototype:
And of course, a competition target rifle wrapped in duct tape:
Apparently the shooter needed to jerry-rig some counterweights with lead wire and duct tape and decided to keep it like that.
So that's it. See the rest of the photos here.