Tuesday, July 28, 2009
National Firearms Museum
Today, the kids and I went to the National Firearms Museum in Fairfax, VA. The museum is co-located with the National Rifle Association (NRA). For any who aren't aware, my oldest sons are gun enthusiasts! They read about guns, they write about guns, they play army, army, and more army. They own at least 2 Air-Soft pellet guns each and are always asking for more. They have large (encyclopedia-like) books about guns and read them frequently. You might ask, does this bother me? No, it doesn't bother me at all. I sometimes get tired of hearing about guns but...they enjoy it, they are learning, and we often utilize this keen interest to help them set goals in other areas.
I grew up around guns. I think I was probably 9 the first time I shot a weapon (probably at a empty soda can, a fence post, or a cow patty--I was visiting my extended family in Texas). By 13 or so, I would go to shooting ranges and "practice." And, later I had to "qualify" with an M-16 as part of my annual Army requirements (as did David). So, you might say that I am uniquely-likely to have sons that would have such a great interest in weapons. At any rate, we decided that today we would go and see the museum. Admission is Free and it's close to our house so, it made for an easy Day Trip.
The Museum Exhibits are nice, the collection of weapons is well organized and informative, and there are historical references in order to both educate and give context to weapon development. I don't know exactly what I was expecting, but I was impressed. There were many more weapons than I expected and the history was very interesting to me.
For instance, I didn't know that until WWII, General grade officers had to provide their own pistol!?! That seems ridiculous! And now, a pistol is issued to each General and they are the only weapons issued by the United States Armed Forces that do not have to be returned. It's a cool little tidbit of information and there are many more like that.
Sybella's favorite part of the museum was the computers; most of the display cases have too much in them to have descriptions on placards. So, instead, there are computers where you type in the case and item number to find out what the item is, it's maker, and the history of the weapon. Sybella LOVED typing on the keyboards. She would then repeat the name of whatever weapon the boys were talking about (as if she had actually looked it up). The boys also enjoyed the computers but they used them to confirm that they had accurately named a weapon. I was downright surprised at how versed they are in WWII weaponry. I hear them talk about guns but they were actually able to pick them out!
Obviously, we enjoyed our visit to the museum and much to the boys' delight, they sell Air-Soft pistols in the gift shop! The boys used their allowance money to purchase a Sig Sauer and a Walther P22, which they are in fact using in "target" practice outside right now. What a great day!
***Don't forget that if you click on the mosaic or any other picture, it will enlarge for better viewing.