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Apr 16

Mountmaking Forum ›Firearms safety


Suzi McG 3/28/15

Greetings All, I would love to hear some feedback from you about your experience with firearms in museums. I've been a mountmaker for almost 20 years now and have been free lance for 15 of them, and a huge proportion of the work I deal with are firearms of all sorts - flint locks, pistols, heavy machine guns - you name it & I've probably laid hands on one. I've lost count of how many times I have known or seen where a firearm was actually loaded in a museum. Sometimes they are brought in that way by a careless donor. And I'm finding that often registrars & curators do not check the weapons either. Scary! I always assume that any weapon is loaded unless I see for myself that it is not. And there are plenty of people who do not know how to check a weapon properly. Given the wide variety of firearms out there it can be hard to determine that too. So, I would like to hear what your experiences are. If you are on staff at a museum, does your museum have policies in place for dealing with weapons safety? What have you done to educate yourself about weapons or have you felt the need to do so? Thanks! Suzi McGarraugh



Pamela Gaible 3/30/15

About 13 years ago, one of our Collection Managers inventoried all our firearms and, working with the Chicago Police, procured and developed the permits, paperwork and procedures for safely holding them. Any staff responsible for handling them had to hold a State Firearm Owners Permit. Powder, powder residue and firing pins were removed from all firearms. Firing pins are stored separately from the arms.  Ruth - Head Conservator at Field Museum. Pam Gaible

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