Springfield Armory National Historic Site Closed thru 03/31/2020

NickLeduc

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SPRINGFIELD, MA – The Springfield Armory National Historic Site (NHS) visitor center and museum will be closed to visitors February 3 through March 31, 2020. The closure will allow for the park to complete critical systems upgrades. The National Park Service has contracted the services of Gardner Construction & Industrial Services, Inc. to complete the $1.6 million project.

Park officials have determined that the Springfield Armory museum will need to be closed temporarily to conduct the work. Kelly Fellner, Superintendent of the Springfield Armory National Historic Site and Coltsville National Historical Park notes “We are excited to embark on this long awaited project to upgrade the Armory infrastructure systems and ensure the ongoing protection and preservation of the building, museum, and collections.”

During the museum closure visitors will still be able to walk the historic grounds, which encompass Springfield Technical Community College (STCC). In addition, the park ranger staff is taking this opportunity to collaborate with the Springfield Museums and the Springfield Downtown Visitor Center to offer special programs about Springfield Armory. More information regarding programs and events will be posted at the website www.nps.gov/spar or at www.facebook.com/sparnhs.
 
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I was working closely with one of the previous superintendents (Doug Culliard) and we had a lot of plans to use local clubs as volunteers to help the Armory improve their displays and collections. As time got closer, however, the local unions protested and they ended up having to use lunch people and janitors rather than C&R collectors and competitive shooters as help. It was a big disappointment. Also, when Doug left, the Armory suspended tours of other floors. Again, we offered to use local clubs as volunteers but we were refused.

People have no idea about how extensive their collection really is. They is maybe 10% of what they own on display. It's really stagnant too. If you've been there in the last 15 years then there's nothing new to see. Upstairs they even have a complete collection of uniforms going back to the beginning of this country. They also have a "class III" collection that would be very impressive. In the basement I was shown the entrances to tunnels that were dug to reach the Connecticut River for escape purposes. They're not usable now, of course, but that's the kind of thing that people would love to see and learn about.

It will be very interesting to see what 1.6 million of our tax dollars will actually by. Will they refresh and restructure the displays or will this money go to more mundane stuff like replacing floors and the like. At least it's being tended to in some fashion and not closed. Fingers crossed!
 
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I was working closely with one of the previous superintendents (Doug Culliard) and we had a lot of plans to use local clubs as volunteers to help the Armory improve their displays and collections. As time got closer, however, the local unions protested and they ended up having to use lunch people and janitors rather than C&R collectors and competitive shooters as help. It was a big disappointment. Also, when Doug left, the Armory suspended tours of other floors. Again, we offered to use local clubs as volunteers but we were refused.

People have no idea about how extensive their collection really is. They is maybe 10% of what they own on display. It's really stagnant too. If you've been there in the last 15 years then there's nothing new to see. Upstairs they even have a complete collection of uniforms going back to the beginning of this country. They also have a "class III" collection that would be very impressive. In the basement I was shown the entrances to tunnels that were dug to reach the Connecticut River for escape purposes. They're not usable now, of course, but that's the kind of thing that people would love to see and learn about.

It will be very interesting to see what 1.6 million of our tax dollars will actually by. Will they refresh and restructure the displays or will this money go to more mundane stuff like replacing floors and the like. At least it's being tended to in some fashion and not closed. Fingers crossed!
I know C&Rsenal went into the collection to examine prototype/trials rifles when they were doing episodes on the M1903 and M1917, including the Air Service detachable mag rifles. While what I saw when I went there just to visit was pretty impressive, I was sort of underwhelmed at only seeing one floor.

Ian from Forgotten Weapons mentioned that collections like this typically have a library of guns available, like the Royal Armouries in Leeds, that's simply too big and ungainly for the general public to view.
 

usp45ct

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Glad to see they are investing in their future. I’m amazed how many local gun nuts haven’t been there.

That would be me. And worse, I went to school on the same site for 2 years and live about 5 miles away as the crow flies for the better part of 40 years.
 
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They need to spend some $$$ on some of the other buildings too. The officer housing is looking pretty rough. It would be cool to rehab some of the buildings and rent them to offset operating expenses. Turn some of the larger buildings into condo's? Pretty exclusive address and its already a "gated" community.
 

chris_1001

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I was working closely with one of the previous superintendents (Doug Culliard) and we had a lot of plans to use local clubs as volunteers to help the Armory improve their displays and collections. As time got closer, however, the local unions protested and they ended up having to use lunch people and janitors rather than C&R collectors and competitive shooters as help. It was a big disappointment. Also, when Doug left, the Armory suspended tours of other floors. Again, we offered to use local clubs as volunteers but we were refused.

People have no idea about how extensive their collection really is. They is maybe 10% of what they own on display. It's really stagnant too. If you've been there in the last 15 years then there's nothing new to see. Upstairs they even have a complete collection of uniforms going back to the beginning of this country. They also have a "class III" collection that would be very impressive. In the basement I was shown the entrances to tunnels that were dug to reach the Connecticut River for escape purposes. They're not usable now, of course, but that's the kind of thing that people would love to see and learn about.

It will be very interesting to see what 1.6 million of our tax dollars will actually by. Will they refresh and restructure the displays or will this money go to more mundane stuff like replacing floors and the like. At least it's being tended to in some fashion and not closed. Fingers crossed!
We need a private NES tour of the non public stuff!!!
 

whacko

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I was working closely with one of the previous superintendents (Doug Culliard) and we had a lot of plans to use local clubs as volunteers to help the Armory improve their displays and collections. As time got closer, however, the local unions protested and they ended up having to use lunch people and janitors rather than C&R collectors and competitive shooters as help. It was a big disappointment. Also, when Doug left, the Armory suspended tours of other floors. Again, we offered to use local clubs as volunteers but we were refused.

People have no idea about how extensive their collection really is. They is maybe 10% of what they own on display. It's really stagnant too. If you've been there in the last 15 years then there's nothing new to see. Upstairs they even have a complete collection of uniforms going back to the beginning of this country. They also have a "class III" collection that would be very impressive. In the basement I was shown the entrances to tunnels that were dug to reach the Connecticut River for escape purposes. They're not usable now, of course, but that's the kind of thing that people would love to see and learn about.

It will be very interesting to see what 1.6 million of our tax dollars will actually by. Will they refresh and restructure the displays or will this money go to more mundane stuff like replacing floors and the like. At least it's being tended to in some fashion and not closed. Fingers crossed!
Maybe I'm strange......but I actually liked the creaky old wood factory floors in that place. The old wood loading docks near the entrance too. Gives you a better feel of what the place was actually like and it adds to the charm. Amazing that they were able to produce such quantity and quality in those days and those facilities.
 
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I like the place as it is, too. It's just that they really need to open up that place for tours that will generate a steady stream of income. They told me that they simply don't have the manpower. I told them that there were hundreds if not thousands of guys/gals who were vetted by C&R underwriting by the FBI and ATF. They would be HAPPY to volunteer their time as docents for that place. But, no one there is interested, truthfully. They are happy just putting in their time. Had my buddy stayed there he would have pushed a bit harder but the gubmint is the gubmint.
 

Whiskeywon

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I like the place as it is, too. It's just that they really need to open up that place for tours that will generate a steady stream of income. They told me that they simply don't have the manpower. I told them that there were hundreds if not thousands of guys/gals who were vetted by C&R underwriting by the FBI and ATF. They would be HAPPY to volunteer their time as docents for that place. But, no one there is interested, truthfully. They are happy just putting in their time. Had my buddy stayed there he would have pushed a bit harder but the gubmint is the gubmint.
It's a combination of resources that are unavailable to them. In it's current configuration STCC does NOT have sufficient parking to accommodate enough parking space for the museum to have any real foot traffic. All the lots are reserved for students and roadside parking at that place off the back roads is unquestionably spotty. It's location nestled into the side of an urban community college campus to meet expansion goals. I would love for them to open up to private tours, but the issue that you run into is that of hours. Any hours that would be convenient would be traditional museum hours would collide with that of the college's schedule.
I attended STCC for 2 years as a cost saving measure and spent quite some time in the museum just to kill time since it was better there than anywhere else on campus except for the music halls.
 

Armory1903

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I just wanted to mention that I work there. I appreciate all the kind words - everyone here is certainly aware of how special of a place the Armory is.

I'm not one to speak out much - I like to fly under the radar, personally. I just want to shoot CMP matches, and buy overpriced AR's in Mass, and be among those of similar inclinations.

But, this thread told me that I need to make myself known to the NES community. The Armory needs help, it needs support and advocacy. And, if I can let you know what's happening there (or not), and keep you all in the loop, then all the better. And, if more NES folks wanted to get more involved with the Armory, then all the better.

To fill in some questions on the construction, the main push is for our fire system. Long overdue to make sure our fire alarms and suppression systems are up to date and to code. That was a long time coming. Unfortunately, it won't mean new exhibits, but we are going to give the walls a coat of paint and change the color while the place is all wrapped up for the fire work. The old flesh-color paint scheme is just not working for us anymore.

I was working closely with one of the previous superintendents (Doug Culliard) and we had a lot of plans to use local clubs as volunteers to help the Armory improve their displays and collections. As time got closer, however, the local unions protested and they ended up having to use lunch people and janitors rather than C&R collectors and competitive shooters as help. It was a big disappointment.
It was before my time, but when Doug retired, there were 5 full-time staff specifically devoted to the museum and archival collection. Now there's one (me). Just having volunteers is a challenge because of the lack of staff to support and direct them. Things have changed from 2006. But, I think with a better outside network, more local folks who are willing to step up, advocate for the Armory, and hold your Government stewards accountable, then we might be able to get back there. There is a Friends of Springfield Armory NHS group whose mission is just that, but they're a young organization and really just getting started. As several of you have noted, we need new exhibits. While the Government might pay for it eventually, it is not likely we'll be able to get new exhibits in our lifetime without a kick-butt Friends group that's rocking and rolling. If there's anyone interested in getting on a board and being more active in the support arena, and thinking about BIG projects like an exhibit overhaul, please let me know. I'd be happy to tell you more, and there's more to do in addition to the exhibits.

But, we do have a volunteer program for those interested, though much of that need goes to interacting with visitors at the information desk. If anyone's into that - talking the Armory, guns, interchangeable manufacture, how the hell do you make a musket barrel from flat bar stock, water power, early machinery, etc., etc., with a great cross-section of the general public, then please let me know.

I did the $12 (at the time) behind the scenes and upstairs tour 20 years ago. Worth every penny. They stopped them in the post 9/11 panic, but may have resumed them? Anyone?
Also, when Doug left, the Armory suspended tours of other floors. Again, we offered to use local clubs as volunteers but we were refused. People have no idea about how extensive their collection really is. They is maybe 10% of what they own on display.
I'll have you know it's more like 14% on display.

In all seriousness, I think why the hell are we saving this stuff if people can't see it? We don't do tours of storage anymore. It really is just a security issue since we re-configured it from the old method. But, we are open to research. We are open to groups. If a group wants to come in and get up close and personal with all John Garand's prototype M1's, then we can do that. We have a classroom, and we can pick a topic, pull that stuff out of storage, and spend a few hours talking about it and looking at the stuff up-close. Just before we shut down for construction, we had the ROTC cadets from UMass in, and we did a full evolution of firearms, and with a bonus talk on the evolution of the M60, complete with FG42's, MG42's, and all the prototypes - everything pulled from storage. Lots of fun. The Garand Collectors Association just had their annual meeting here in September. That was a good time, too. Lots of stuff to talk about - the evolution of the .50 BMG, rifle production in World War I, early AR-15s, 40mm grenade launchers, testing semi-auto pistols in the 1900s and the adoption of the 1911, how many serial number 1's do we have, anyway? The possibilities are endless.

In the basement I was shown the entrances to tunnels that were dug to reach the Connecticut River for escape purposes.
If you know where those are, I would love to know!

I know C&Rsenal went into the collection to examine prototype/trials rifles when they were doing episodes on the M1903 and M1917, including the Air Service detachable mag rifles.
The C&Rsenal crew will be back again this Summer to do more filming.

We need a private NES tour of the non public stuff!!!
That can be arranged. Just sayin', but after we re-open, if we want to set up an NES Western Mass get together with some time looking at civil war breechloaders or whatever in our classroom at the Armory during the day and some beers afterward, I'm all ears.
 

AaronT

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@Armory1903: I would be very interested in an NES tour. I also am not vocal here, but I would take a day off to go look at historic firearms! Might try to drag my dad along if he is interested. I would bring my 10 year old son, too, if it was during Spring Vacation.
 
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