The Springfield 1903 Theodore Roosevelt used during his 1909 African Safari
Fairfax, Virginia - Why is National Firearms Museum Director Jim Supica smiling so? Because the rifle in his hands, a 1903 Springfield bolt-action rifle, is yet another addition to the NRA Museum's President Theodore Roosevelt exhibit.
"That is Theodore Roosevelt's Springfield 1903 rifle, serial number 6000," Supica beamed. "It's one of the most historic Roosevelt rifles. It was one of his primary arms in the 1909 African Safari."
The rifle was on loan to Springfield Armory (no, not the gun manufacturer, the actual Springfield Armory that served two centuries as the primary source of firearms for our fledgling country) when Sagamore Hill made the initial loan of Roosevelt material to the National Firearms Museum. A few discussion later and boom ... it's back with the original collection.
"What a fantastic connection it provides with history for all of us," said National Parks Service Superintendent James Woolsey. "The Park Service thought it was a good opportunity. I mentioned this to the Director and he was very excited about the possibility of partnering and cooperating."
Thanks to a suggestion by Gary Wilk, word went from Phil Schreier here at the NRA to Sagamore Hill to the Springfield Armory to put things in motion. It was decided that the rifle should join the exhibit.
"It was a time period when the National Armories would fulfill specialized sporterized requests for important people," explained Senior Curator Doug Wicklund. "Theodore Roosevelt availed himself of that. It's a fantastic gun to have."
Titled "Theodore Roosevelt: Trappings of an Icon", the Museum's recently opened Theodore Roosevelt collection comes courtesy of the National Parks Service. While renovating the facilities at Sagamore Hill, this collection will serve as one of the primary points of focus for patrons and staff alike.
We'll have more on this particular Springfield 1903 soon, but for now it's comfortably resting in it's new NRA home.