Higgins is a Museum of arms and armory. It is located in beautiful Worcester, Massachusetts. The building is three stories tall with medieval flags at the top and the inside of the building resembles a castle. The museum can be seen from the highway and is about two hours from Rye, NH. Higgins Museum houses over eighty million dollars worth of breathtaking armory and weapons! Standing in front of the different displays, visitors are taken back to the times when Rome fell and when Duke's and Kings wore highly decorated suits of armor. Visitors will learn about the types of armor and the types of arms (weapons) and the various forms of decorations used on armor.
There are three types of armor displayed at the museum. The types of armor are combat, tournament, and decorative. Combat armor consists of 200+ pieces of metal and weighs 45-80 pounds. Combat armor is very flexible and good at protecting knights from swords and arrows. Another type of armor is tournament. It was for spectator games and knight training. This armor is very heavy and it is difficult to move in. Visibility was also extremely poor because the slit in the visor to protect knight’s eyes was thin. After all the disadvantages it did have one advantage. The suit was that being of strong metal that was an excellent defense against lances and swords. Decorative armor was like a man’s suit in the Middle Ages and was lightweight. The suit was used to show wealth and royalty. This armor was not for defense and was only for fashion. There was even armor for dogs and children but this was primarily for the royalty. Depending upon the century the armor was made, the foot plates, or sabaton's would be different. If the armor was from the 1400's, the feet may have points at the top of them because that was the style. By the 1500's, those were gone and some of the armor had fliting (lines on the suits). A suit of armor like that now could go for as much as a Rolls Royce!
During the middle ages there were many types of arms. One of them is called the cross bow and is similar to the current day bow and arrow. The cross bow is harder to set and you have to pull a trigger to launch it. There are many types of spears that were used to defend and protect the kingdoms. One of the types of spears displayed in Higgins is called a lance. A lance is a 9' long spear and as time went on it got longer. This was popular because they were cheap, efficient and strong. Medieval fighters would get into small to medium groups and stick out the spears in rows of x-x. Once one row of men was gone, men and men on horses had to go through several more rows before they were stopped. Sometimes the knight could win. Most weapons were made from metal like pick-forks or shovels because that is what most people had. At the end of the middle ages gun and gun pounder began to take the place of the cross bows, spears, and lances.
There are seven different types of armor decoration: etching, engraving, embossing, blueing, gilding, damascening and painting. The ones that they show most common in the Higgins Museum are etching, engraving and painting. A technique that is in Higgins is painting of armor. Painting was one of the cheaper ways of decorating armor. There was only one color and that was black. One of the reasons the warriors would paint their suits was to prevent rust. One of the most common types of decoration was etching. Etching was when they would burn acid in armor for designs and put a varnish over it so it would prevent rust. One other type of design was engraving. Engraving is when they would use a sharp tool and engrave a design in metal. This was very hard to do and was expensive so not many armor was made this way. Last, embossing involved shaping metal itself, first heating metal and then hammering out the decoration from inside. This was a very expensive decoration and it would weaken the metal. It was used for ceremonial armors. Those were just a few of the variety of designs at Higgins.
At The Higgins museum, one can learn a lot about the arms and armor used during the medieval ages. It’s a great field trip for junior high students. Even though it may be a long drive to get there, the abundance of information it has makes it well worth the trip. It is a great museum!
Higgins Museum Essay
3 -- Outstanding 2 -- Ok, but could use some improvement 1-- Needed improvement 0 --- Missing
3 Gave the reader background and general information about the museum --- set the scene.
3 Transitions to the body of the essay. (Three things that can be learned by a visit to the museum)
3 Three topics were addressed, each with its own paragraph
3 Topics were clearly explained and used researched supporting details & vocabulary
2 Restated topic --- What can be learned at the museum?
3 Brought closure to essay (Summed up essay)
3 Essay format followed the directions for assignment
3 Capitalization (Used correct capitalization)
Comments: Wow outstanding overall effort. Great introduction, perfect. Your body read really well, excellent supporting details and explainations. You could have used some more research vocabulary to add depth. Conclusion does a good job bring closure, but should have done a little more recapping of topics. Nice Work!