by Doug Wicklund, Senior Curator, NRA Museums - Friday, December 22, 2017
This time of the year, as many folks travel back home for the holidays, one popular stop on the trip should be to the National Firearms Museum at NRA Headquarters in Fairfax, Virginia.
For those that haven’t made the pilgrimage to northern Virginia, this museum facility offers an incredible blend of artistry and history with more than 3,000 great guns on daily exhibition. But in the mad rush to get from Point A to Point B, sometimes numbers alone aren’t what can bring visitors into the museum. The amazing stories revealed behind these great pieces of history are suitable for visitors of all ages. If your trip coincides with a weekday, the museum offers a free guided tour at 1pm, led by selected museum staff to introduce the collection to groups or individuals.
Visitors regularly tell us that they drove hundreds of miles just to see certain pieces in the museum collection and we’re honored to have these special items on display. Since the museum’s founding in 1935, thousands of visitors have been welcomed into our galleries. Our guests experience a unique interpretation of our nation’s past through firearms that were actually there. Being able to see a Girandoni air rifle similar to the one which Lewis & Clark took westward as part of the armaments of the Corps of Discovery gives a special thrill to history enthusiasts.
Where else in America can you:
Inside the NRA’s National Firearms Museum, one can see the Smith & Wesson .44 Magnum revolver once wielded by Clint Eastwood in his role as Inspector “Dirty Harry” Callahan combating crime through the streets of San Francisco. A rare Pedersen Device that was intended to change a bolt-action rifle into a semi-automatic powerhouse for the battlefield is part of the museum’s newly rebuilt WWI gallery. Collectors in search of rarities will marvel at the museum’s Civil War treasures, including Confederate President Jefferson Davis’ Kerr revolver. Incredible sharpshooters like Annie Oakley are well-represented in the museum displays, with guns that were used in shooting competitions by Doc Bogardus, Pawnee Bill, Buffalo Bill and Olympic champions as well.
If you are planning a trip to the National Firearms Museum, why not also stop in at the NRA Range or take in lunch Monday through Friday at the NRA Café, the restaurant at NRA HQ that offers a unique, yet inexpensive dining experience amongst NRA staff. For those seeking souvenirs, the museum’s store has one of the country’s largest selection of firearms reference books and an incredible assortment of fraternal items, including clothing. NRA’s National Firearms Museum is open daily (closed Christmas Day) 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information on the museum’s educational programs, check out the museum’s website at www.nramuseums.com, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call (703) 267-1600.