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‘Firearms of Famous People’ Exhibit on View at Wood Museum

SPRINGFIELD — “Firearms of Famous People: From Target Shooters to Presidents,” a temporary exhibit of extraordinary firearms and memorabilia owned by well-known politicians, presidents, and celebrities, is now on view at the Lyman and Merrie Wood Museum of Springfield History. The exhibit, which was organized in cooperation with the Smith & Wesson Collectors Assoc., is on display through April 24, 2016 in a space adjacent to the Smith & Wesson Gallery of Historic Firearms.

The exhibit includes three presidential pistols, including a .44 double-action Smith & Wesson revolver owned by Teddy Roosevelt, along with a belt knife used by Teddy’s Rough Riders during the Spanish-American War. Also featured is a .32 safety hammerless Smith & Wesson acquired by Franklin Delano Roosevelt when he was employed as an attorney in New York in the 1920s. The third presidential weapon is a .357 Magnum made especially for John F. Kennedy, featuring the handiwork of master engraver Alvin White. The revolver is fully engraved and inlaid with gold and silver, and bears the Great Seal of the U.S. on the side plate.

This exhibit also includes three guns owned or used by movie stars, including a .32 caliber Smith & Wesson belonging to George Montgomery, well-known for his career as a film actor in many westerns. Clint Walker, best-known as the star of the Cheyenne TV series, owned a Smith & Wesson Model 3 that is on view. Also on display is a prop gun designed to look like a .45 caliber U.S. Army automatic pistol, used by Lee Marvin in the film Delta Force in 1986.

Probably the two most famous gunmakers in the history of this country are Horace Smith and Daniel Wesson, and this exhibit features firearms connected to both of these innovators. Other firearms featured in this exhibit were owned by FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, Theodor Robert Geisel (the father of Dr. Seuss), and Christina Nilsson, one of the opera stars of the 19th century.

Admission prices are $18 for adults, $12 for seniors and college students, $9.50 for children 3-17, and free for children under 3 and museum members. The fee provides access to all four museums. General admission is free for Springfield residents with proof of address.

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