Rural Missouri - September 2013 - (Page 16)
O U T D O O R S
by Jason Jenkins
istoric records come in many forms —
stone, canvas, paper, ﬁlm. For Jim Supica,
however, the history of America is not
found in these materials, but instead in
wood and steel.
As director of museums for the National Riﬂe
Association, Supica traces the path of freedom from
the ﬁrst shots at Lexington to a terrorist compound
at the end of a dirt road in Pakistan. He recounts the
story of American expansion from Spanish conquistadors through Lewis and Clark to the outlaws and
sod-busting settlers of the Old West. He connects the
American passion for the outdoors and the modern conservation ethic all the way from the White
House to Hollywood.
The role that ﬁrearms have played in American
history is unquestionable, and now, thanks to a partnership between the NRA and Bass Pro Shops, the
story of hunting, conservation and freedom is on
display in Springﬁeld, Mo.
In August, the 7,500-square-foot NRA National
Sporting Arms Museum opened inside the outdoor
retailer’s ﬂagship store. Nearly 1,000 pistols, riﬂes
and shotguns comprise what is likely to become the
Jim Supica, director of museums for the National Riﬂe Association, holds a Parker Brothers shotgun once used by
most visited ﬁrearms museum in the United States.
legendary exhibition shooter Annie Oakley. The long gun is one of nearly 1,000 ﬁrearms on display at the NRA
“I believe this will be the best-looking ﬁrearms
National Sporting Arms Museum, which recently opened inside the Bass Pro Shops store in Springﬁeld.
museum in the country and certainly in the top few
in terms of historical signiﬁcance,” Supica says. “It’s
a remarkable collection.”
A decade in the making, the new museum is
comprised of four distinct galleries and more than
a dozen other collections and displays highlighting
some of the “crown jewels of the NRA collection.”
The primary gallery features a timeline of sporting arms from the 17th century to present day. A
highlight among these artifacts is an example of the
including Annie Oakley, John Phillip Sousa, John
number of prototypes and factory cutaways, which
Girandoni air riﬂe carried by Meriwether Lewis and
Wayne, Jesse James, John Wesley Hardin and Gen.
allow the internal working of the gun to be visible,
William Clark during the Corps of Discovery.
as well as several milestone guns. These include both
Designed by an Italian and manufactured for the
According to Mickey Black, general manager of
the ﬁrst Model 870 pump shotgun, built by RemAustrians, the .46-caliber riﬂe could
the Bass Pro Shops Springﬁeld location, nearly 4
ington in 1948, and the 10 millionth Model 870,
be ﬁred 22 times, reloaded and ﬁred
million people visit the store annually, making it
assembled more than 60 years later in 2009.
22 more times before it lost velocity.
one of the state’s most popular destinations. He says
The Second Amendment Gallery houses a
It made quite an impression on Amerithe addition of the ﬁrearms museum will draw even
collection of U.S. military long arms from
can Indians who encountered Lewis and
1795 to present, while another gallery is
Clark, presenting a perception of peace
“It’s going to bring back memories for people,”
dedicated entirely to U.S. President TheoSpringﬁeld
through superior ﬁrepower.
he says of the museum collection. “When somebody
dore Roosevelt due to his signiﬁcance
“If you had to name a single gun that
sees a gun that Grandpa had or that they had as a
to the conservation movement of the
contributed to America being what it is
kid, I think it will conjure up all those memories of
early 20th century. Included among
today, you can make an argument for this
days gone by. Maybe it will inspire somebody to get
the Roosevelt guns are a double riﬂe engun,” Supica says. “I truly believe it was key to the
back into the shooting sports.”
graved with the presidential seal on both
success of that expedition.”
barrel breeches and the pistol he kept in his nightAnother large gallery features the Remington FacThe NRA National Sporting Arms Museum is open
stand in the White House.
tory Collection. “These guns have never been seen
daily from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., and admission is free.
The museum also features a number of historioutside of the factory at Ilion, N.Y.,” Supica says.
Special after-hours tours are available upon request. For
cally signiﬁcant guns, including those belonging to
“These are the treasures from their collection.”
more information, visit www.basspro.com/nramuseum or
kings, emperors and presidents. Others, both famous
Included among the Remington ﬁrearms are a
and infamous, also are represented by ﬁrearms,
Blasts from the past
New Springﬁeld museum features four centuries of ﬁrearms
While you’re there . . .
hen you visit the NRA National Firearms
Museum, be sure to spend some time next
door exploring the National Archery Hall
of Fame and Museum.
Open since November 2012, the facility houses a
collection of some of the most unique memorabilia
depicting bowhunting and archery history. Among
these are a bow crafted by Geronimo, the Apache
Indian chief, while he was in the custody of the
U.S. Army in Florida in the 1880s, as well as Holless
Wilbur Allen’s ﬁrst compound bow prototype, which
revolutionized the sport for both target archers and
bowhunters alike in the 1960s.
Peruse the Wall of Fame, which commemorates
the 73 individuals who have been inducted since the
hall was established in 1972. Bowhunters will recognize many names — Hoyt, Martin, Pope, Young and,
of course, Bear.
A bronze statue of legendary archer Fred Bear welcomes guests into the museum, which also displays
many of his bows, broadheads and hunting trophies
— even his tool box.
Competitive archery is well represented in the
museum, too, including such personalities as
Ann Marston, who won 11 national archery
championships, and Ann Clark, who was
instrumental in the development
and promotion of the National
Archery Association Junior Olympic Development Program.
For more information about
the hall of fame, visit www.
or call 814-392-8901.
Admission to the
Known as the bow
that forever changed
archery, the ﬁrst working
compound bow prototype was
invented by Missourian Holless
Wilbur Allen in the 1960s. It now
resides in the hall of fame’s museum.
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Rural Missouri - September 2013
Rural Missouri - September 2013
Scorching the border
Blasts from the past
Out of the Way Eats
Mowing down the competition
Hearth and Home
A place for Pershing
Rural Missouri - September 2013
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