Higgins Armory is located in Worcester, Massachusetts. The museum is the product of the lifelong obsession of one man. John Woodman Higgins was a prominent industrialist from the early 1900s who spent his life collecting medieval armor. Eventually his collection became so large that he built an entire building to house it. In 1931, this building was opened to the public as a museum. Many a school child from Worcester (and the surrounding area of central Massachusetts) experienced Higgins Armory as a field trip, often more than once. Since I consider Worcester to be my hometown, I definitely spent countless hours at the armory as a child (on more than one field trip or family outing). Higgins’ collection of medieval arms and armor is among the best in the United States. As I child, I did not realize what a privilege it was to visit this museum.
Earlier this year, the armory announced that they would be closing their doors at the end of 2013. The costs of running the building are draining the endowment that Higgins created to sustain the museum. Over the years, the museum has expanded their programs. Today, it is definitely not the museum I experienced as a child. Some of the new features include a dedicated children’s room, program rooms and additional events including the occasional Viking battle and trebuchet contests. Since I knew the museum was due to close at the end of the year, it was one of my “must do” stops on my New England tour with my children this last summer. Although the building closes its doors on December 31st, a deal was made with the Worcester Art Museum to allow the collection to remain on display. In January, the armory will begin the transfer and a new chapter in the Higgins Armory and John W. Higgins’ amazing collection will begin.
If you are in central Massachusetts, and you have the time before the museum closes its doors forever, take the time to check it out. The building itself is a marvel of Art Deco architecture.
Update 12/22/2013: Article published in the New York Times regarding the closure and what is happening to the collection. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/20/arts/design/a-bell-tolls-for-the-higgins-a-quirky-armor-museum.html?_r=0
All photographs were taken by the author Deborah Sweeney.
©2013 copyright owned and written by Deborah Sweeney
Post originally found at: https://genealogylady.net/2013/12/11/those-thursday…higgins-armory/
Sad to say, I don’t recall ever going there myself. 😦
Deborah, this is the first I’ve heard of this fantastic place – a freezing of history, so to speak? But money is the bringer of woes – even to this historic place.
It is very tragic that the museum has to close. It has been such an institution for generations of central Massachusetts children. But, woe is right, money changes everything.
I’m sorry to hear The Higgins Armory is closing, I always hoped to get there someday. My 3rd Great Grandfather was an Armorer there in Worcester, MA. Thank you for posting this.
I am very sad too. It is one of those institutions that I always thought would be around. Fortunately, the collection will be on display at the Worcester Art Museum, even if you don’t get to view it in the Higgins building.