Sad news re: Higgins Armory, with a happy ending?

I just learned that the Higgins Armory will be closing at the end of the year.

Those outside of New England may be unfamiliar with the armory, but this Worcester, Massachusetts-based museum was built around the medieval/Renaissance arms and armor collection of early 20C industrialist John Woodman Higgins. The resulting museum, lowering its drawbridge in 1931, currently claims 3,000 items, and is “the only dedicated museum of armor in the western hemisphere, housing one of the few significant collections of knightly armor outside of Europe,” according to its website. The museum also focused on outreach, offering dozens of educational programs for schoolchildren every year. Unfortunately, it’s almost 60,000 annual visitors weren’t enough to make up for the lack of an endowment.

Given the focus, the interior is quite impressive and well worth a visit in the few months left:

One room in the Higgins Armory (boston.com)

One room in the Higgins Armory (boston.com)

It will be closing its portcullis for the final time at the end of the year, and will transfer the core of its collection to the Worcester Art Museum. It looks like WAM has big plans for the transferred items, and they promise within 6 years or so we’ll be able to see 2,000 items from the collection in “open storage.” Stay tuned.

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2 responses to “Sad news re: Higgins Armory, with a happy ending?”

  1. midgardarts says :

    All things considered, this may be a good move for the collection and the public for the reasons you mention. I think the museum will continue to exist in name as it appears it will be co-publisher of conference proceedings held in their sessions at the International Congress of Medieval Studies (that colossal conference at Kalamazoo Michigan).

    And from what I have heard, that original building was a monster to maintain.

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