We Need Guns. Lots of Guns.
By Dwip August 2, 2009, 11:06 pm Comments (2) RSS Feed for this post

Being Part 1 of a two-part photo record of the trip Sarah and I took July 11-12 through various parts of Western Massachusetts. This part looks at the sights of scenic downtown Springfield, MA.

Why Springfield, you may wonder? Well…

That’s one reason. If you know anything about guns at all, you may know that Springfield is the home of the Springfield Armory, which along with another place you may have heard of named Harper’s Ferry used to make a good chunk of the federal government’s small arms.

You may know them for such iconic rifles as the M1 Garand:

The M1903 Springfield:

And the Springfield rifled muskets, M1855, M1861, M1863, and a few others:

They tell me that at one point, there were over a million of those stockpiled.

They also made the M14, but apparently I didn’t bother to get any good pictures of it, so you must do without.

What used to be the federal armory is now a technical college, with a random little driveway that goes around the back to another building which is run by the National Park Service, which may be my favorite federal agency, as a museum. Which it is. It is also a ridiculous collection of US and foreign rifles. They have displays on just about everything from the Revolution to the 1950s. Ever want to know anything at all about any random experimental variant of the M1? Here’s the place. Trench devices for the M1903? Got those too. They even have a collection of foreign WWI/WWII weapons, including to my delight an StG44 and an FG-42, which you may remember from the Normandy level of every WWII shooter ever.

In short, if you have any interest whatsoever in things that use propellant to shoot lead out of barrels, you should probably go here. Sarah, despite having no interest in these things (girls, man, I dunno) was remarkably patient with me.

It helped that there were displays like this:

In which you learn that you should not leave your rifle in the barn, in the damp, in salt water, and via that twisted top one, should not let your rifle be struck by lightning while on guard duty. If we are to believe the story, lightning hit the rifle, mangling it as you can see, knocked the soldier in question silly but didn’t harm him particularly, and didn’t set off his powder. Electricity, we learn, is crazy times.

They also have a whole half devoted to the actual industry of gunmaking as practiced at the armory, in which I finally answered the question of how you actually machine a rifle stock. There are lathes for these things, it turns out, such as this neat water powered one:

Waterwheel and river no longer included, but once upon a time.

After an emergency Starbucks run for Sarah, who was Very Tired (instead of me for once, ha!), we roamed Springfield, which is…whatever it is that Springfield is. We’re not sure. The 20-story apartment towers seemed slightly random and superfluous, but hey, whatever. On the other hand, Gilded Age libraries are cool no matter what:

“Can we take it home with us? Please? Pleasepleaseplease?”

“I don’t think it will fit in the car.”


Behind the library is, of course, the Dr. Seuss Sculpture Garden:

It’s larger and more varied than I show you here, but I needed a picture to capture the feeling of Sarah running around and going “Squee!” and “Wai~!” and generally acting as if she were five again, so here you are.

Also, apropros of nothing, Epic Puritan Founder Is Epic. During the Founding. Of Springfield. In Epic Fashion.

There were also a bunch of museums sprinkled around the garden. Science and fine art and local history and the other art museum with the Japanese armor and Chinese ceramics. I’m pretty sure you can figure out which one we went into.

Among other things, they had really supercool engraved and inlayed muskets:

Also this shrine, which is far more awesome than I can possibly hope to convey to you with this shoddy picture:

And here I am with some armor. Japanese people in Sengoku period were…short, let us say. Very short:

Note that the shortness would not prevent me from getting the hell out of the way if they came charging at me wearing said armor and wielding one of the many fine katanas also displayed, which pictures do not well display the quality of the craftsmanship.

Also, we went upstairs to the kid’s room, where I found a helmet. Yes, I put it on. I have self respect. Of COURSE I put it on.

There were also some Chinese ceramics, which we mostly blew past, although I will show you this awesome vase in passing:

There was also a collection of plaster casts of Greek and Roman statues, most of which Sarah and I had already seen the originals of in, you know, Europe, and this awesomely bad video about the Romans which we laughed at because we are classics geeks and also snobs, as you may have previously guessed.

Then we decided we were starving. So we went to Northampton, home of a webcomic you may or may not read. We went to a place that served cow. Good cow. Delicious cow. And we ate of the cow, and saw that it was very good, delicious, and filling, and seriously we were both full for DAYS was how good this cow was.

And then we went to Deerfield, but that’s a bunch of photos for another time.

Photoblogging, Trips Comments (2) RSS Feed for this post
Comments on We Need Guns. Lots of Guns.
avatar Comment by Anonymous #1
August 3, 2009 at 2:38 pm


avatar Comment by Gormican #2
August 7, 2009 at 10:51 pm

That helmet somehow just looks appropriate on you I’m not sure why