Higgins Armory Museum Essay
New England is full of many historic sites, references, and museums. One example is the Higgins Armory Museum in Worcester, Massachusetts. The steel and glass building was built by John Higgins in 1930 to hold his collection of armory, which became publicized in 1931. The Higgins Armory Museum now holds one of the world’s best collections of arms and armory—over 35 suites of armor. There is an abundance of information you can learn about armor, knighthood, and changes in armor over the years.
Until the 17th century, armor was a universally popular idea. It was used all around the world, for many reasons. Probably the most important was that it protected against blows from the enemy. Also, a knight would wear armor out of battle to assert and display their status, which was a significant aspect of feudal society (feudalism is a system that works mainly on a rigid social structure that strictly controls the way anyone of a certain social status can behave). Knights also used their armor to identify and represent themselves, and, in battle, to intimidate the enemy. When armor was made, it often highlighted local culture through the materials used and the designs on it and in some cases expressed traditions. There was war armor, but most knights also had ceremonial armor—much more intricate and fancy, and instead of seeing the battlefield, it was used in ceremonies.
There were two main types of armor, mail and plate armor. In the early middle ages, mail was the more popular protection, but it had a few flaws. It was vulnerable against crushing blows from heavy weapons and crossbows, since it was flexible and could be pushed in. So in the early 1400’s, plate armor moved in and became more popular. Now it was common to see a knight clad head to toe in a full suite of plate armor, which is the stereotype image that is associated with a knight. Also part of that image is that the knight is on horseback, which was a common sight in battle. Although knights were not clumsy, they also had to be in top physical condition to be able to fight with armor on, so being on a horse made it that much harder. Nevertheless, they were a formidable force.
During the period when armor was most popular, which is to say from ancient Greek times to the 1600’s, there were changes in the styles of armor. In Greek and Roman times, the most common armor to see was bronze plate armor, although they didn’t wear nearly as much as a knight in the middle ages. They usually just had a helmet, breastplate, and grieves (shin guards), with some varying items. Then, in the early middle ages, iron chain mail became popular but was abandoned in the 1400’s, to be replaced by heavy suites of plate armor, which was made of steel. It was much stronger and stood up to the things that chain mail couldn’t. However, there was something else that eventually wiped out armor altogether: gunpowder. It was introduced to Europe in the 1300’s, but didn’t catch on until the 1500’s. Armor just couldn’t stand up to weapons like cannons, guns, explosives, and other gunpowder-based weapons that were being invented. As it was being made heavier and heavier to withstand the heavy impacts, it became much too heavy to wear. So, with gunpowder growing more and more popular and armor getting too heavy, in the 1600’s the idea of armor was abandoned for a style of warfare that required much lighter, quicker tactics. Armor had become obsolete, and the world had moved into a much different style of warfare.
The information above, which all is taught at the Higgins Armory Museum, shows what a good source it is. It is clearly important to have a resource as good as the Higgins Armory Museum, because it gives us a good understanding of the history of armor. Furthermore, all of the exhibits displayed there teach us the important history and evolution of armor. So the next time you’re in Worcester, you should stop in to the Higgins Armory Museum and have a look.
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
2 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: Your essay reads well, good introduction solid supporting details in the body. More research vocabulary would have helped add depth to the explanations. You conclusion is ok, but could use a rewrite to make it less akward. Good overall effort on the essay.