National Firearms Museum Senior Curator Doug Wicklund working on the 1911 Display on NRAblog.

In two weeks, National Firearms Museum Senior Curator Doug Wicklund (pictured above) will head out west to the North Dakota Cowboy Hall of Fame. Filled with anticipation, he compiled the following preview for what's in store:

What do Luke Skywalker, James Bond and Tom Selleck all have in common?

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Joe Mantegna preparing to shoot the Outdoor Channel's Gun Stories at the National Firearms Museum
Actor Joe Mantegna shooting a segment of Gun Stories at the NRA.

Fairfax, Virginia - Joe Mantegna's first trip to the National Firearms Museum occurred almost a year ago today. Along with Michael Bane and the Outdoor Channel crew, he was here to shoot segments of the soon to be debuted television show Gun Stories. Fast forward eleven months and a couple of Golden Moose awards later, Joe and the crew are back at the NRA for season two.

"Today (Monday the 14th) we're going to start with the Thompson Machine Gun, the Garand and the Luger," said Director Tim Cremin. "Later in the week we'll move on to your Hollywood Guns exhibit and maybe get a look in the museum vault."

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NRA's Doug Wicklund speaks on the history of the 1911 at the National Firearms Museum

This past January a group from the Enduring Pride Project were invited to NRA Headquarters by the NRA Range. Here, they were treated to lunch at the NRA Cafe, a guided tour of our National Firearms Museum and the opportunity to squeeze off a few rounds down at the range.

The program had such a good time at NRA they wanted to come back in the future and the the NRA Range's Debbie Crews was more than happy to plan their next visit. After a couple months of getting some great sponsors and volunteer Range Officers, Enduring Pride showed up on Tuesday with a group of over 20 combat disabled veterans accompanied by friends and family. There were a lot of new faces and a couple old ones, but you can always learn something new at the museum and target shooting never gets old, right?

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DC News crew brings cameras to the National Firearms Museum

NBC 4's Aaron Gilcrist and NRA Museum Director Jim Supica
Aaron Gilcrist, host of NBC 4's Washington Nonstop, interviews National Firearms Museum Director Jim Supica.
Washington Nonstop focuses on the insteresting people, places and organizations that make up the Washington, DC community. Aired throughout the week on Digital 4.2, Comcast 208, Fios 460, Cox 803, and RCN, the show is hosted by News4 weekend anchor and reporter Aaron Gilchrist. Yesterday, Friday the 17th, they added the National Firearms Museum to their list of interesting places and organizations.

Beginning in the Robert E. Petersen Gallery, Gilcrist kicked things off with an interview of Museum Director Jim Supica before focusing on the collection. Accompanied by Channel 4 multimedia journalist slash reporter slash field producer Jennifer Doren, the crew went from gallery to gallery in an effort to show a little bit of everything the museum has to offer.

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Wounded Warriors from Project Enduring Pride look a the Hollywood Guns Exhibit in the National Firearms Museum Fairfax, Virginia - As Lars told you yesterday, we had the honor of welcoming a group of wounded warriors from Project Enduring Pride as they visited NRA Headquarters here in Fairfax, Virginia. The group of nearly 40 included combat disabled veterans and their family and friends. After a quick lunch at the NRA Café, half of the group went to the range with Lars, and the second half came with me to the National Firearms Museum.

Senior Curator Doug Wicklund took the group on a tour of the entire National Firearms Museum, explaining the significance of certain firearms, particularly those relating to the military. The tour began in the Petersen Gallery and included a stop to look at the guns of Theodore Roosevelt and the Rough Riders. The group also looked at galleries containing the guns of the first and second World Wars, the Korean and Vietnam Wars, and firearms used in modern warfare in the Middle East. But what were the group's favorite guns? Those contained in the Ruger Gallery's "Hollywood Guns" Exhibit.

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Colt Model 1921 Thompson sub-machinegun On the morning of December 7th, 1941, the Imperial Japanese Navy launched a surprise attack upon the American Naval Base known as Pearl Harbor. With more than 350 fighters, bombers and torpedo planes taking part in the offensive, the Japanese damaged, sank or destroyed eight U.S. battleships, three cruisers, three destroyers, a training ship, a minelayer and 188 aircrafts. 2,402 American lives were lost along with 1,282 wounded.

America was in a panic.

Fearing that Pearl Harbor was merely the first stage in a coordinated attack, forces on the mainland began to assemble up and down the West Coast. A major problem was a lack of arms. That's where the firearms that now reside in the NFM's Hollywood Guns collection came into play.

To the right is a Colt Model 1921 Thompson submachine gun. It was one of several firearms loaned to California military bases by the movie industry. Prop houses, film houses, private collections, where ever they could found. This specific Thompson was the property of Stembridge Gun Rentals. It ended up at Fort MacArthur in San Pedro soon after Pearl Harbor.

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Magnum, PI and Blue Bloods star Tom Selleck visits the National Firearms Museum on NRAblog You never know who you're going to run into at the NRA National Firearms Museum. Could be NRA President Ron Schmeits, maybe 2011 Men's World Championship Trap Shooting Team member Collin Wietfeldt, or – if you happened to stop by last Saturday around noon – your favorite Private Investigator/Police Commissioner Tom Selleck.

In town for the Horatio Alger Association Awards ceremony, Selleck took the opportunity to stop by NRA Headquarters and visit the Robert E. Petersen Gallery.

"Bob Petersen was a friend of mine," said Selleck "I had to miss the gallery's opening, so I'm glad to have the opportunity to see what the NRA did with Bob's collection. They did a fine job. A very nice job."

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NRA National Firearms Museum Senior Curator Phil Schreier (as well as a number of firearms from the Hollywood Guns collection) was the subject of a Phil Spangenberger article in April's edition of True West Magazine:

Now Playing: Hollywood Guns
New NRA exhibit features weapons from classic Westerns that include The Wild Bunch and True Grit.

The Italian Walker Colt - .44 caliber used by John Wayne as Rooster Cogburn in True Grit on NRAblog Walker Colt - .44 caliber used by John Wayne as Rooster Cogburn in True Grit, Courtesy of the NRA National Firearms Museum.
“Why, by God girl, that’s a Colt’s Dragoon!” 

These words, uttered by none other than John Wayne, in his Oscar-winning performance as Marshal Rooster Cogburn in 1969’s True Grit, brought star status to the Italian replica Colt Walker revolver, which was originally intended to simply be a prop that saw sporadic use throughout the movie. 

This and many other firearms used throughout movie history have become more than mere props or backdrops to the actors. Many became somewhat stellar themselves. 

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National Firearms Museum Senior Curator Phil Schreier displays real and rubber guns used in Hollywood movies on NRAblog.com Remember when Clint Eastwood tossed his .44 Magnum to the ground after encountering the villain Scorpio in Dirty Harry? Did you cringe as that beautiful piece of Smith & Wesson craftsmanship went skidding across the pavement? Well there was no need to cringe. After all, it wasn't a real gun ... it was a fake.

And that's the focus of tonight's Curator's Corner. Throughout the history of Hollywood, a number of guns placed in the hands of screen extras and heartthrobs have been of the faux variety. The most popular material utilized by the silver screen prop houses is rubber. Here at the NRA National Firearms Museum, we have three prime examples.

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