The Smithsonian Museum is an iconic place in Washington, DC. Actually it’s not just one museum, but a collection of 19 different museums, galleries, and even a zoo. The carefully curated displays include such things like the very first teddy bear, the Hope Diamond, and the actual desk where Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence. Nowhere else in the world has such a grand and historical collection of American history been seen by millions of people who visit these locations each year.
With that being said, if you are a fan of historical firearms, the Smithsonian Gun Room is a semi-secret place of huge significance. The Gun Room itself isn’t open to the public, but if you can catch some of the collection on display, it’s well worth the trip.
A Two-Hundred Year Old Collection
There are 7,000 weapons as part of the museum’s collection that are housed in the famed Smithsonian Gun Room. It’s an impressive collection that spans over two-hundred years of American and world history. Technically, this collection is called the National Firearms Collection, and it’s located in the National Museum of American History.
Not only does it include actual firearms, but also other items like military projects, patents for famous guns, and firearms that were used by famous and infamous outlaws throughout history. The public isn’t allowed into the Gun Room, but you can see many of the most famous weapons on display in various collections at the different museums.
David Miller is the Curator of the Gun Room
The curator of the museum, David Miller, loves that he gets to work in this famous room each day with the smell of gunpowder permanently embedded into the air. There are guns from all over the world in the collection, not just from America, including such historical pieces as the hunting rifle that belonged to Catherine the Great. It’s a gorgeous piece with gold inlay and other rich details.
When asked which of the guns is the curator’s favorite, David came up with an interesting choice. He picked a gun that was used by the fictional character Buck Rogers, the U-235 Atomic Pistol. It’s actually a futuristic toy gun that the museum acquired in 1978.
Some of the Most Famous Weapons
You can see some of the most famous weapons from the days of the “Wild West” on display at the Cody Firearms Museum. This museum is named after “Buffalo Bill” Cody, a bison hunter and soldier who served in the Civil War.
One of those firearms is a musket that was a gift to Thomas Jefferson in 1805. It’s seven feet long and made of gold.
There is also the prototype of the famous Gatling gun that was created in 1862. This was the model that all of the line was based on back then.
Even if you can’t see the famous Smithsonian Gun Room in person, it’s nice to know that firearms of great significance are being housed and taken care of very well in this important room.