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Age of Armor from the Higgins Armory Museum

Dates: March 3, 2007–May 13, 2007

The traveling exhibition Age of Armor from the Higgins Armory Museum features many examples of the armorer’s craft dating from ancient times to the seventeenth century.

Displayed also are weapons of the time that relate directly to the development of the various armor types. Several mannequins with complete or three-quarter suits of armor are included.

The chronological arrangement of the pieces begins with a bronze Corinthian-style helmet from Greece dating to about 550 BC, and continues with iron chain mail and associated early medieval weapons. Much of the exhibit is devoted to steel plate armor, which emerges at the beginning of the fourteenth century, and lasts until the middle seventeenth century, when better firearms made armor obsolete. The exhibit details how armor was made, decorated, and used, and includes armor for horses too. It also includes illustrations of paintings, sculptures, and other works and selected quotes from contemporary sources such as Hector arming for battle from Homer’s Iliad, and a description of a tournament from Edmund Spenser’s The Faerie Queen, among others.

The Higgins Armory Museum is located in Worcester, Massachusetts, the home of its founder John Woodman Higgins. Constructed in 1928, the museum houses Mr. Higgins’ collection, one of the largest collections of ancient, medieval, and Renaissance arms and armor in the country. The traveling exhibit was developed by Smith Kramer Fine Art Services.

The McClung is grateful to the sponsors of the exhibition: Home Federal Bank, William B. Stokely, Jr. Foundation, Wildcat Cove Foundation, Turkey Creek Land Partners LLC, MARCO Institute of Medieval and Renaissance Studies, Office of the Chancellor, and the Aletha and Clayton Brodine Museum Fund.

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