NRA volunteers donate skills and time to restore firearms
This week in 2010, we spoke with a volunteer about the benefits of working for the National Firearms Museum. Here it is again for this weekend's NRAblog Rewind:
Occasionally the NRA National Firearms Museum
finds talented – and willing – volunteers. Volunteer John, pictured above, is typically on site every Tuesday, assisting Senior Curators Phil Schreier and Doug Wicklund and Museum Director Jim Supica with tasks large and small.
John told NRAblog he enjoys every minute of his time at the Museum.
“It’s a real thrill,” he said. “Often the only time a gun enthusiast would see some of these firearms is a picture or maybe a display. To handle them, and help sometimes to clean them – you’re holding history in your hands.”
We came across John as we were peering into the Museum’s Restoration Lab on Tuesday. His white gloves soiled from oil and ash, John paused to talk with us about his current assignment. The Leonard Lyon rifle has recently joined the Museum’s collection and will be on display in the near future. John estimates the Remington percussion cap to be mid-to-late 19th century. “At one time it was a fairly nice piece,” he said with a sigh, noting the brass inlay and hidden cubbyhole.
John said the firearm may offer a few clues about its past. “One of the more interesting things is that this gun is marked Rome, NY whereas Remington’s located in Ilion, NY,” he said.
“The gunsmith that made the barrel and likely the whole gun, George H. Remington, operated in Rome NY from 1862 to 1867, so it can be tied down to a 5-year period of manufacture,” Wicklund confirmed. “This Remington later moved to Iowa and then moved on to California.”
John worked on cleaning the rifle as we chatted. “This entire barrel was covered with thick grease,” he said. “We have to work easy so we don’t take any more off than we absolutely have to.”
“I thoroughly enjoy antique firearms,” John said. “I call [my volunteer work] a busman’s holiday. It exposes me to a lot of guns I wouldn’t otherwise see.”
“And times are tough, and I know volunteer help is appreciated.”
Interested in volunteering at the NRA National Firearms Museum? Give them a call at 703-267-1600, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.