On August 2 the National Rifle Association (NRA) celebrated the grand opening of its National Sporting Arms Museum, located in the Bass Pro Shops mega store in Springfield, Missouri.
“We are thrilled to bring such a wonderful collection of firearms to Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World,” NRA Museum Director Jim Supica said in a news release. “Featuring treasured guns from the NRA collection along with special exhibits from Remington and others, this museum promises to showcase a sporting arms collection the world has never seen.”
It was a project that spent ten years in the making and was the brainchild of NRA leaders and Bass Pro Shops Founder Johnny Morris. Morris first came upon the idea when he visited the National Firearms Museum in the NRA’s Virginia headquarters. He wanted to recreate a similar experience for his flagship store.
“Visitors to the NRA National Sporting Arms Museum are in for a treat. They’ll see firearms that figure significantly in the history of our country and trace the evolution of hunting and conservation,” Morris said. “This museum houses a fantastic collection, from the firearms of Theodore Roosevelt and John Wayne to historic U.S. military pistols and engraved Colt revolvers of the Old West. It has something for every firearms enthusiast.”
The exhibit will take over 7,500 square feet of the floor and is intended to display icons of hunting, conservation and the American way of life. According to the NRA, firearms exhibited will include original Remington prototypes and designs along with a collection borrowed from the Pachmayr Foundation. Guns of historical value will also be present and include those used by former U.S. presidents.
“We have guns from three presidents, five Medal of Honor recipients, some from the crown heads of Europe including Napoleon, King James the Fourth, guns from lawmen and outlaws and exhibition shooters,” Supica told OutdoorHub. “We have the guns of Theodore Roosevelt and his family. We have an exhibit of Hollywood firearms used by the likes of John Wayne, Charlton Heston and Clint Eastwood.”
Also present is the Springfield Model 1093 once used by sharpshooter John Hession at the 1908 Olympics. The rifle is significant because shortly after the competition Hession sent the firearm to England during a gun drive in the first World War. It was returned to Hession after the conflict. The NRA blog reports that the museum will house about 950 firearms with more to come from the NRA’s National Firearms Museum.
“When we cut the ribbon this morning it instantly became one of the most significant firearms museums in the world, in terms of importance of the guns on display.” Supica said. “It also sets a new standard in terms of layout and design as well as context … the lead exhibit is a 150-foot-long timeline of sporting arms in America beginning from the very earliest explorers and settlers to modern arms used by modern hunters.”
Images courtesy Lars Dalseide/NRA