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The Higgins is the biggest self collection armory museum in Worcester Massachusetts. The collection was founded by John Woodman Higgins. The collection has about 1600 pieces of armor and weapons. The museum was founded in 1929. The museum consists of sections of armor of weapons of Gothic, European, Western, African, Islamic, Indian, and Japanese. Mr. Higgins died in 1961, the collection and building was given to the public. The building was upgraded in 1984 they raised 2.1 Million dollars for the cause. The collection is very extensive and has a lot of history and interesting tales to tell.

There are three major types and uses of armor, Combat/warfare, lancing/tournament, and decoration. Combat/warfare was the first use and type of armor. The armor was designed for easy adjustment, so the wearer could mount his horse with ease, so he could fight with very little set back. The armor weighed about 45-80 pounds. The armor was made for protection, that’s all. After a while the design became more and more precise, they were designed to protect weak spots or gaps in the armor. They were made from about 200 pieces of armor. The helmet always had good visibility, unlike many other types of armor, they had to be like this so the wearer could see their opponent and surroundings well. For weapons to go with this type of armor are combat lances which are usually 10-14 feet with a head that was shaped a lot like a spear, they also had a small sword that they usually kept strapped to their hip. But this type of armor soon went out of style.

The second type and use of armor is lancing/tournament. This type of armor was designed for very little movement, and very little visibility. It is the heaviest and thickest type of armor ever, the armor weighed 80-100 pounds. The game of Joust involves two mounted knights on opposite ends of a playing field called a tiltyard, they charged at each other and tried to unseat to unseat the other. The target of the knights was strapped piece of armor much like a shield attached to the left shoulder. The game of Joust was not made for killing, it was for fun and betting and winnings, accidents rarely happened and many precautions were needed, since cuts with infection could kill since times were very different, but death rarely happened and injuries were usually small. The horses were usually charging at about 20 miles an hour, and the knights usually endured an impact of about 40 miles an hour on his chest. The armor was designed specifically for this type of impact, and incase the lance splintered, which it was in most cases made to. In most cases if the splinters got into crevices in the armor or helmet it usually led to infection and sometimes death. Each knight wielded a blunted lance about 10-14 feet. Many knights bet another knight their armor even if it didn’t fit him he could sell it, maybe even sell it back to the losing knight, but it was a great way to get money. But this type of armor was swapped by the decorative suits.

The last type of armor for the medieval times was decorative. Decorative was not meant for battling, it was meant to wear to special occasions like parades, court events, and ceremonies. The suits were actually very weak since all the tampering it took to make it look good. The suit was not designed for protection, it was made for show, it had very intricate designs on it. Having a suit of armor was basically saying that you had money and could blow 75,000 dollars on a suit of armor you will probably wear small amount of times. These suits were for showing off you were stylish and rich. The cost of one of these suits was usually about a fourth of a knights salary. Sometimes people didn’t even wear their suits they would hang them up on their walls, sometimes they didn’t have the whole suit made. There were many ways to decorate a suit of armor, etching, embossing, engraving, blueing and gilding. People loved to have decorative armor but it was soon exchanged for actual armor used for battle.

The types and uses of armor have changed drastically over the years and centuries, Higgins really helps to identify in detail these things. Their collection has so many great stories to tell. The history of armor will just keep on growing and so will the collection and intelligence of Higgins Armory will keep on growing. Higgins Armory collection is so extent we saw only a small fraction but it was so informative. Higgins Armory’s collection is great and shows so much history in a great way.

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


3 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 Spelling

3 Capitalization (Used correct capitalization)

Comments: Very good organization to the essay and excellent supporting details in the body. More research vocabulary would have added depth to the writing. introduction 7 conclusion are both well done. Excellent overall effort on this piece.
Article posted May 25, 2010 at 07:44 AM • comment • Reads 75 • Return to Blog List
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