Just got back from the American Society of Arms Collectors (ASAC) meeting in Newport News, VA. ASAC is a group of collectors that have and share some amazing things. All sorts of antique arms and related artifacts were there on display for the members to see and learn from. There are also presentations on some of the objects in the displays. All of the folks are really passionate about their collecting fields, and it shows.
I worked with a couple of friends on a display of eight Siege of Boston powder horns identified to soldiers who were serving in the Siege from Massachusetts and Connecticut. The horns are rare but pop up from time-to-time. Given that there were around 20,000 soldiers who came in and out of Massachusetts from April 20, 1775, to March 17, 1776, means that there were quite a few horns made. Most are from Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New Hampshire. The rarest being from Rhode Island. I also did a presentation talking about horn usage, then highlighted the eight horns showing details of each and talking about the service of the soldiers who owned them. At the end, I plotted the locations where each of the soldiers served on a British-made map of the Siege.
There were other goodies to see also. A display of 18th and early 19th century naval cutlasses, powder horns made in the south and their characteristics, early military saddles, Kentucky-style rifles made in North Carolina, and even a huge display of Civil War-era medical tools. Even though some of it wasn’t in my collecting or research area, it was enjoyable to see so much work and passion go into the displays.
I also had a chance to visit the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown. It is relatively new and hadn’t had a chance to get to the area and visit it before last week, but it was one of the tours set up as a part of the ASAC meeting. They have some great historic objects and stories to tell and do a good job doing it. There have everything from early decorative arts to muskets, pistols, swords, and even some objects found during an archaeological project on the British ship Betsy scuttled during the Siege of Yorktown in the fall of 1781. If you get down to Colonial Williamsburg or Yorktown, Virginia, make a stop by to check it out.
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