Monday, April 25, 2011

Fort Pitt Museum: The American Frontier Rifleman

Just in time for the NRA Annual Meeting this week, the Fort Pitt Museum will open an exhibit entitled The American Frontier Rifleman: Tall Tales and Truth. Opening Wednesday, the exhibit will run until October 30th. According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,
The exhibit will include more than 50 objects, some on loan from institutions, many culled from private collections.

In addition to about a dozen rifles, the museum will showcase gear essential to the true rifleman. Powder horns -- cow horns used to carry gunpowder -- make an appearance, including an 18th century example engraved with patriotic sayings: "LIBERTY OR DEATH," "KILL OR be KILLD."

An original 18th century hunting shirt, a dusty-looking but well-tailored garment, also will be displayed. Owned by a collector, the shirt will be shown to the public for the first time this week, Mr. Gutchess said.

"There were thousands of these garments in existence in the period, and now there's only four believed to be from the 18th century," he said.
Admission to the museum is normally $5 but NRA members will only have to pay $2.50 with their membership card through May 1st. I was pleased to see that the Fort Pitt Museum in just a few blocks away from the David Lawrence Convention Center where the Annual Meeting will be held.

For a student of early American history, this sounds like a great exhibit. It is hard to believe now but Pittsburgh at one time was definitely considered the frontier.

Originally built as a British fort at the Forks of the Ohio River in 1754, Fort Pitt served as the western headquarters for the Continental Army during the American Revolution. The fort had many names over the years including Trent's Fort, Fort Duquense, Fort Mercer, Fort Dunmore, and, more than once, Fort Pitt.

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