A few weeks ago now I heard about a museum closing its doors at the end of the year. Higgins Armory Museum is an incredibly unique institution, its founder collected medieval arms and armour, which he set up in a glass and steel structure on the top a hill in Worcester Massachusetts. When driving on the highway through Worcester you can see the helmet gargoyles on top of the grey building. I have friends who have worked there, studied there, even raised money for the institution. When I lived in Worcester I would go visit, and feel superior because I squired for a group of guys that fought in that stuff so I was familiar with the ways that all the suits of armor fit together. When I was putting together a kid's program on the middle ages I spent quite a bit of time (and money) in their gift shop, which contained all the latest in books for kids on the Middle Ages.
I will have to go visit a few more times before the end of the year and
they close their doors, Anyone who wants to make a trip, drop me a line,
I'll meet you there.
I am a bit surprised at this turn of events, though I have known for
years that they were in financial hardship. They are not the only
museum, my classes at Tufts in their Museum Studies Program inevitably
bring up the sad state of museums at the moment. All non-profit
institutions are feeling it, from education to healthcare. I am not too
upset at the fate of Higgins though, because their collection is not
being auctioned off, it is not being put into storage, it is going to be
integrated into the Worcester Art Museum. So it will continue to be a
unique part of Worcester, the quirky little city with the
unpronounceable name. If the museum must close, and at this point I
think more and more museums are going to face this sad reality, I am
glad that Worcester Art is willing to take it on, and I hope they will
be strengthened by the addition.
In my opinion, there are too many little museums out there. There are
limited resources being put towards history, towards independent
learning institutions, and those resources could be used more
effectively if consolidated a bit. Maybe I've been brainwashed by
corporate America. Maybe social media has dulled my senses, and the
culture of suburbanization means I do not value my own community as much
as I should, but the reality is that there are a ton of little
historical societies and niche establishments out there that are on the
brink of economic insolvency. Aren't we sometimes stronger as a team
than as individuals?
I would love to see history be valued as a part of American Culture, and
I'd love the history of everyday life, and ordinary people be just as
well known as the history of wars and heroes. I think this could be a
great opportunity for the Worcester Art Museum, I hope WAM and Worcester
are able to take advantage of it.
Portland Place in 1815
14 hours ago