Arsenals of History 2019: Next Generation Collectors & Curators, by Logan Metesh

Arsenals of History is an annual symposium of firearms museum, and met this year at the newly renovated Cody Firearms Museum. The theme of this year’s symposium was social media and museums. This presentation was given by Logan Metesh of High Caliber History on the topic of museum staff and visitor demographics and interests. Where do today’s collectors get their information, and how does this impact their interest in firearms museums? Mr. Metesh has previously worked for the National Park Service, Smithsonian Institution, and NRA Museum.

I apologize for the difficulty in understanding some of the audience comments – I did not realize it would be such an interactive presentation, and only had one microphone on Mr. Metesh. I did my best to boost the audio to capture the rest of the room, but it is still difficult at times.


  1. All museums will be shut if you, yes you reading this, do not visit.

    I have just come home from running the Yorkshire Hat Throwing Competition at Bolling Hall Museum, Bradford, UK. Competition entry by donations. Less than $100 donated, I gave about back to the museum, but the Museum got a record number coming in on a Yorkshire Day.

    History of guns is worthless unless gun history is properly recorded, and that means museums that have both guns and the records of those guns. The nightmare of museums trying to do a proper job with budgets being cut by politicians that couldn’t run urine down their own leg, means that people have to stand up, and go. If you have children, and you are interested in guns, and you have not taken them to a museum with guns, then bloody well wake up and smell the closure!

  2. Forgotten weapons is hardweare, not literature !If not, let’s vote, or count the replies ! What else to say ?…

    • Don’t each to much spicy food, curry etc; heartburn “serious” issue.
      In that, it can have real (medical effects) you have to eat a fair bit like; so don’t. Is my 2 cents, what?

    • At some point even Gun Jesus runs out of AK 53s. I have long wondered about what the site would look like after. Personally, I like Q&A, Max P, How it Works and the Book Reviews. I learned something from today’s video, I hope you did too.

      • “(…)out of AK 53(…)”
        Keep calm, with number of small-series and prototype fire-arms made through history, chance of running out of subjects is low. And,there are new design which have good chance of becoming forgotten in future (take for example Hudson H9).

    • Hmm, but you have variety, what’s wrong with that? All previously mentioned subjects are inter-related. If FW was living on hardware alone we would be done by now. Look in the archive!

  3. It’s interesting that, as far as I know, NO museum other than the Tank Museum at Bovington does what you and Othias and Mae do (or Jay Leno or Jason Torchinsky do with cars). No museum of any kind, anywhere, for any subject. Neither of you are degreed in the subject and would have been laughed out of any museum director’s meeting.

    And yet how many people come through your electronic “doors” every year?

    That’s crazy. There’s no reason that any big or medium sized museum couldn’t have a five or ten minute item of the day from its collection, right on the home page. Every museum should. That’s the front door now.

    And the three of you are ready made, and still freelancing. Someone from the IWM, Smithsonian, or Royal Armouries should have put the two of you on the payroll a long time ago.

    Not the Musee de l’Armee though. I’ve hear y’all’s French.

  4. Also see Kermit Weeks from “Fantasy of Flight” on old aeroplanes, and “Chieftain” from “World of Tanks”.
    A propos the search for the museum of the future, Weeks has some interesting ideas based on two “failed” museums for his next “Act III”, drawing from his very successful neighbor and competitor Disney World. I guess it helps to have a multi million dollar oil fortune behind you. 😉

  5. There is a Military Museum in my home town: Wrocław, Poland. It’s a typical small one, although there are some gems, such as KSGM- a curved barrel Goriunov Machine Gun and a hall dedicated to helmets from all around the world. I’ve heard that regarding the number of models of helmets it’s the second biggest collection in Europe. Unfortunately, there are no curators present on daily basis, only the staff responsible for guarding the exhibits and protecting them from visitors. As said in the lecture, the labels don’t give any info you couldn’t find on the Wikipedia. Just the basic data. I’ve become a volunteer guide to the firearms room and every Sunday I give quick 1-hour long tours all around it. Similarly to Ian I describe the action of several guns by field stripping them and then explaining which part is responsible for what and why. I was often surprised that some people even not interested in guns (even 10yo girls) understood the basics of, for example, short barrel recoil and were definitely paying attention during the tour. I think that if they were visiting the museum by themselves, thy would spend about 15-20 minutes in the firearms rom at most, as it doesn’t give any insight to guns for those who have little to no knowledge. No infographics, showing the development of various types, no explanation of types of cartridges or actions, just labels and cross-sections used by military. Unfortunately, the museum doesn’t have any funding to modernize itself to become more visitor-friendly

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