November 17, 2015
The clear notes of the trumpet echo down the line, its roar beckoning you onward. Nervous, you adjust your armor slightly, and begin the charge.
For as long as human civilization has existed, so have weapons and armor. History was shaped by them, empires rose and fell… but that’s not all they did. Arms and armor filled another role, in society — they were important cultural icons. Think about it. If your society is so centered on such items, it becomes natural that they would begin to be wrought not just carefully and with intense care, but beautifully.
And that is how they ended up at the Met.
A Different History of Arms and Armor
The Arms and Armor Department at the Met was created in 1912, although even before that time the museum had been acquiring valuable arms and armor items. Over time, the museum has continued to benefit from generous donations, such as William H. Riggs, Jean Jacques Reubell, and even J. Pierpont Morgan, which allowed the museum to evolve into the vast collection it is today.
An Avalanche of Arms
The particular strength of the Arms and Armor Department is that is not just large: it possesses a variety of different items, all of high quality, and all with great depth. For instance, from the 16th century, there are many instances of elaborately adorned arms and armor. The Department also has King Henry II of France’s personal body armor, 17th-19th century French firearms, and a collection of American items such as swords used as gifts during the Mexican war, and a series of Colt Revolvers starting in the 1830s.
The collection is over 14,000 items. 14,000! Where do you even put all that stuff? But with a collection that size, there’s no way we could even begin to cover it all. So really, you’ll just have to go there and try it out for yourself. Come with us on the Seastreak! We’ll give you a lavish ride there and back from seeing lavish arms and armor. And don’t bother to bring your own armor — we have a very nice moat.
Sea you Soon!
The Seastreak Family
Filed Under: Arms and Armor Department at the Met