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New Haven Gun Museum
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April 16, 2024 - 6:48 pm
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Has anyone ever been to the Winchester Gun Museum when it was still in New Haven, CT?

My aunt worked at the museum from the day it opened until the day they closed the doors and moved to Cody. My dad used to take me there quite a bit when i was a kid, long long time ago. I have little recollection of it but I do remember my aunt had a musket once owned by Daniel Boone hanging over her fireplace. Well after talking with Danny Michael from the Cody museum he was able to find a few pictures of my aunt at work. The first picture is from the opening of the museum. The second is my aunt at her desk at the museum entrance. I’d like to thank Danny for finding these for me, brought back some good memories.

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April 16, 2024 - 10:00 pm
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Yup; I was there in 1974, also the Marlin factory and museum. I was drooling then and still do today when I see all them fine guns in Cody.

W.A.C.A. life member, Marlin Collectors Assn. charter and life member, C,S.S.A. member and general gun nut.

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April 17, 2024 - 1:27 am
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I never made it to the original museum but I’m grateful that the core collection is in Cody under the care of Danny and his excellent staff. They have other pics of the old museum in the archives, if I’m not mistaken. May be worth a trip to see if any bring back memories. I suspect some of the guns will look familiar.

 

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April 17, 2024 - 3:08 am
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I think it is very neat that there are pictures in Cody that include a family member!!  How great is that?  Tim

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April 17, 2024 - 4:43 am
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How did it come to be that the Winchester and Marlin collections were ever moved out of New Haven to begin with?  

I’m not knocking the Cody Firearms Museum at all, and I’m sure this statement may be controversial, and perhaps very unpopular on this forum, but it’s unfortunate such a museum wasn’t located somewhere closer to the population base of this country, such as New York City or DC, or reasonable drives from either.

Having said that, with the possible exception of a more rural area of Pennsylvania or Virginia, most areas wouldn’t want it.

However, the NRA Museum is located in suburban Virginia, and a site adjacent to that would have been more suitable.

I know this is controversial, and selfish as well, as I live on the East Coast, but why wasn’t a site closer to where most live selected?  Or how did it come to be that it was moved out of New Haven to begin with?

It’s like moving the Colt collection out of Hartford, although R Larry Wilson did a good job of moving some key pieces out of Hartford permanently single-handedly.

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April 17, 2024 - 12:50 pm
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mrcvs said
I know this is controversial, and selfish as well, as I live on the East Coast, but why wasn’t a site closer to where most live selected?  Or how did it come to be that it was moved out of New Haven to begin with?

Controversial only to closed-minds.  Probably best that it left New Haven, where crime has been de-criminalized by the city adm, according to a Yale prof I know who has a summer place near me; nobody in their right mind sets foot off the campus, he says. 

But how about the center of the country, Ok City, the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum?  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Cowboy_%26_Western_Heritage_Museum

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April 17, 2024 - 1:02 pm
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clarence said

mrcvs said

I know this is controversial, and selfish as well, as I live on the East Coast, but why wasn’t a site closer to where most live selected?  Or how did it come to be that it was moved out of New Haven to begin with?

Controversial only to closed-minds.  Probably best that it left New Haven, where crime has been de-criminalized by the city adm, according to a Yale prof I know who has a summer place near me; nobody in their right mind sets foot off the campus, he says. 

But how about the center of the country, Ok City, the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum?  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Cowboy_%26_Western_Heritage_Museum  

I’m not saying New Haven is a model city.  It isn’t.  Neither is Hartford, but the Colt museum remains there.

You would think the State of Connecticut would have wanted to retain the Marlin and Winchester collections as a tourist attraction—at least then.

But, I’m surprised that there wasn’t an attempt to keep these collections where more of the population is centered.  For example, where I live are many distribution warehouses (which has ruined the area) but they are specifically located here to be within a day’s drive of a large percentage of this country’s population.

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April 17, 2024 - 2:20 pm
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William F. “Buffalo Bill” Cody became associated with the Winchester brand way back in 1875 and was probably the most famous to own several Winchester model rifles at the time. Cody would gift several rifles to friends and that may have been the reasoning behind the merger of the two. 

As for the move, as much as I hated to see it, I think it was a good choice to move the museum. Yes New Haven has a lot of crime but so does every large city in the U.S. You’d be hard pressed to name a large city that doesn’t have a crime problem now a days. 

I grew up outside New Haven and I’m proud of the firearms heritage that began in CT. If you look back in history almost every large (American) gun manufacturer started in CT. Maybe it might have been a better choice to have made a Winchester/Colt/Marlin/Browning museum there. But all in all, I can see the reasoning for moving the “Gun that won the West” to the rural area of Cody, WY. 

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April 17, 2024 - 2:28 pm
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Henry Mero said
Yup; I was there in 1974, also the Marlin factory and museum. I was drooling then and still do today when I see all them fine guns in Cody.

  

Do you live in CT. or just close by? I never saw the Marlin factory or museum but my brother worked at Marlin for a while. I’ve yet to make it to Cody even know I’ve been through there quite a bit. My last trip through WY I was stranded in a blizzard in Rawlings when they closed down I-80. Some day I will definitely make it.

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April 17, 2024 - 2:36 pm
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TXGunNut said
I never made it to the original museum but I’m grateful that the core collection is in Cody under the care of Danny and his excellent staff. They have other pics of the old museum in the archives, if I’m not mistaken. May be worth a trip to see if any bring back memories. I suspect some of the guns will look familiar.

 

Mike

  

Hey Mike thanks for the reply. I hope I will be making it to Cody soon. After talking with Danny he said considering my aunts relationship with the museum that her personally signed Stagecoach Print could be left to the Cody museum from my estate. Norman Rockwell signed it for her on his visit in 1966.

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April 17, 2024 - 2:45 pm
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Cilrah said
William F. “Buffalo Bill” Cody became associated with the Winchester brand way back in 1875 and was probably the most famous to own several Winchester model rifles at the time. Cody would gift several rifles to friends and that may have been the reasoning behind the merger of the two.  

By that reasoning, it should be in Oyster Bay, Long Island, because T.R. was also a lifelong Winchester booster, & somewhat more famous than B.B.

The American arms industry grew up in the Conn Valley, beginning with Springfield Armory, which has a collection as vast & to me more interesting than the one in Cody.

 

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April 17, 2024 - 3:23 pm
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Cilrah said
William F. “Buffalo Bill” Cody became associated with the Winchester brand way back in 1875 and was probably the most famous to own several Winchester model rifles at the time. Cody would gift several rifles to friends and that may have been the reasoning behind the merger of the two. 

As for the move, as much as I hated to see it, I think it was a good choice to move the museum. Yes New Haven has a lot of crime but so does every large city in the U.S. You’d be hard pressed to name a large city that doesn’t have a crime problem now a days. 

I grew up outside New Haven and I’m proud of the firearms heritage that began in CT. If you look back in history almost every large (American) gun manufacturer started in CT. Maybe it might have been a better choice to have made a Winchester/Colt/Marlin/Browning museum there. But all in all, I can see the reasoning for moving the “Gun that won the West” to the rural area of Cody, WY.   

I doubt Connecticut is proud of its firearms heritage, as liberal as the politicians are up there now.  My guess is the state ignores it and wishes that past never existed.

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April 17, 2024 - 4:26 pm
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I can’t recall the details but during one of the several reorganizations at Winchester the executives in charge at the time realized they were in the firearms manufacturing business, not the museum business. Considering their attitude towards records archival I believe we’re fortunate the folks in Cody agreed to house the records as well as the firearms collected by Pugsley, et al. 
It’s a long trip to Cody from my little spot on the Texas prairie but I’m generally looking forward to my next trip before I clear the Cody city limits headed south.

 

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April 17, 2024 - 11:20 pm
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mrcvs said

Cilrah said

William F. “Buffalo Bill” Cody became associated with the Winchester brand way back in 1875 and was probably the most famous to own several Winchester model rifles at the time. Cody would gift several rifles to friends and that may have been the reasoning behind the merger of the two. 

As for the move, as much as I hated to see it, I think it was a good choice to move the museum. Yes New Haven has a lot of crime but so does every large city in the U.S. You’d be hard pressed to name a large city that doesn’t have a crime problem now a days. 

I grew up outside New Haven and I’m proud of the firearms heritage that began in CT. If you look back in history almost every large (American) gun manufacturer started in CT. Maybe it might have been a better choice to have made a Winchester/Colt/Marlin/Browning museum there. But all in all, I can see the reasoning for moving the “Gun that won the West” to the rural area of Cody, WY.   

I doubt Connecticut is proud of its firearms heritage, as liberal as the politicians are up there now.  My guess is the state ignores it and wishes that past never existed.

  

I can tell you about the liberals from Connecticut… Massachusetts and New York and New Jersey and the like as they have moved north to NH and brought all there liberal ways with them as they exclaim they left their respective places to escape the B.S. I’m sure I will be seeing more gun legislation and tax and spend in Concord soon.  

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April 18, 2024 - 12:14 am
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mrcvs said

Cilrah said

William F. “Buffalo Bill” Cody became associated with the Winchester brand way back in 1875 and was probably the most famous to own several Winchester model rifles at the time. Cody would gift several rifles to friends and that may have been the reasoning behind the merger of the two. 

As for the move, as much as I hated to see it, I think it was a good choice to move the museum. Yes New Haven has a lot of crime but so does every large city in the U.S. You’d be hard pressed to name a large city that doesn’t have a crime problem now a days. 

I grew up outside New Haven and I’m proud of the firearms heritage that began in CT. If you look back in history almost every large (American) gun manufacturer started in CT. Maybe it might have been a better choice to have made a Winchester/Colt/Marlin/Browning museum there. But all in all, I can see the reasoning for moving the “Gun that won the West” to the rural area of Cody, WY.   

I doubt Connecticut is proud of its firearms heritage, as liberal as the politicians are up there now.  My guess is the state ignores it and wishes that past never existed.

mrcvs said

Cilrah said

William F. “Buffalo Bill” Cody became associated with the Winchester brand way back in 1875 and was probably the most famous to own several Winchester model rifles at the time. Cody would gift several rifles to friends and that may have been the reasoning behind the merger of the two. 

As for the move, as much as I hated to see it, I think it was a good choice to move the museum. Yes New Haven has a lot of crime but so does every large city in the U.S. You’d be hard pressed to name a large city that doesn’t have a crime problem now a days. 

I grew up outside New Haven and I’m proud of the firearms heritage that began in CT. If you look back in history almost every large (American) gun manufacturer started in CT. Maybe it might have been a better choice to have made a Winchester/Colt/Marlin/Browning museum there. But all in all, I can see the reasoning for moving the “Gun that won the West” to the rural area of Cody, WY.   

I doubt Connecticut is proud of its firearms heritage, as liberal as the politicians are up there now.  My guess is the state ignores it and wishes that past never existed.

  

 

Actually i think i had said “I’m proud” really don’t care what the liberal gun haters say or think.

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April 18, 2024 - 12:18 am
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oldcrankyyankee said I can tell you about the liberals from Connecticut… Massachusetts and New York and New Jersey and the like as they have moved north to NH and brought all there liberal ways with them as they exclaim they left their respective places to escape the B.S. I’m sure I will be seeing more gun legislation and tax and spend in Concord soon.    

And the same day they acquire title to a piece of land, up go their posted signs–even in areas where no one would care to hunt with permissionPosting private land was never customary in the rural NE, until these carpetbaggers arrived.  Only about 20 yrs ago, Vt had virtually no state-level gun restrictions, inc. handguns, but in this short space of time it has adopted most of the same policies as NYS, waiting periods, etc., due to the influx of outsiders like Brooklyn-born Bernie Sanders.

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April 18, 2024 - 2:19 am
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I don’t have any special knowledge as to why Cody was selected as the long term resting place for the WRA’s  and Pugsley’s firearms collections, but I believe Tom Henshaw and several other longtime Winchester executives can be given credit for seeing the surviving design, manufacturing, and sales records of the company were ultimately transferred there.  In some ways, those illuminate company history far more than the products it made. 

Whether it was foresight or fortunate coincidence,  the choice of a Wyoming locale is in all of our interests because of a political climate that is far less likely to countenance abandonment or destruction of the guns and documents. 

The NRA museum is protected by the strength and power of that association and its allies, which enables it to survive in Virginia. But NRA exists to first serve its own interests, which are not necessarily or completely ours.  The Cody Museum looks backward, not forward, and must be apolitical to ensure the survival of the artifacts it was formed to preserve and protect. 

Roy Weatherby’s grandson, with the concurrence of his board of directors, chose Wyoming for several good, practical and precautionary reasons.  Not the least of which was that Wyoming really WANTED them to be there. 

We should take comfort that Wyoming feels the same way about the Winchester guns and documents.  Not a small thing. 

- Bill 

 

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April 18, 2024 - 2:21 pm
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Zebulon said
I don’t have any special knowledge as to why Cody was selected as the long term resting place for the WRA’s  and Pugsley’s firearms collections, but I believe Tom Henshaw and several other longtime Winchester executives can be given credit for seeing the surviving design, manufacturing, and sales records of the company were ultimately transferred there.  In some ways, those illuminate company history far more than the products it made. 

Whether it was foresight or fortunate coincidence,  the choice of a Wyoming locale is in all of our interests because of a political climate that is far less likely to countenance abandonment or destruction of the guns and documents. 

The NRA museum is protected by the strength and power of that association and its allies, which enables it to survive in Virginia. But NRA exists to first serve its own interests, which are not necessarily or completely ours.  The Cody Museum looks backward, not forward, and must be apolitical to ensure the survival of the artifacts it was formed to preserve and protect. 

Roy Weatherby’s grandson, with the concurrence of his board of directors, chose Wyoming for several good, practical and precautionary reasons.  Not the least of which was that Wyoming really WANTED them to be there. 

We should take comfort that Wyoming feels the same way about the Winchester guns and documents.  Not a small thing. 

  

I agree with Bill.  We’re fortunate that the records and Winchester collection reside in Cody.  It’s my belief that the Buffalo Bill Center of the West Museum was chosen by the leadership at (what was once) Winchester because of the quality of the museum and staff and its emphasis on “Old West” history.  I doubt the location was nearly as important to them as was the quality of the museum and their ability to preserve and promote the collection.  The fact that it now resided in an EXTREMELY firearms friendly state is a happy coincidence, especially considering how rapidly firearms rights are eroding and gun culture is being vilified on both the East and West coasts. 

One need look no further than to our unprecedented and open access to the Winchester records to know those records are in the only place they belong.  If you don’t believe me, just deal with trying to get factory records from the Colt Archives on the same day you’re trying to make a decision on the purchase of a high value Colt.  Or, better yet, ask the Colt Archives to double check a record you believe may be in error.  The response is neither pleasant nor fruitful, while Jesi or Angela happily double check the records and apologize for even the slightest of errors.

Of course, I may have my own selfish reasons for my opinion.  After our purchase of Wyoming Armory a few blocks from the museum, I’m now walking distance from the museum and spend a great deal of time stalking the halls.  It’s also a huge benefit that the CFM has such a knowledgeable, courteous and helpful staff.  They really give the impression that the collection and records belong to all of us firearms aficionados.  The location may not be convenient for many of us, but in my opinion the Winchester collection and records are exactly where they belong and I felt that same way long before I ever dreamed of moving to Cody.  Mark  

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April 18, 2024 - 11:41 pm
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Mark Douglas said

 

One need look no further than to our unprecedented and open access to the Winchester records to know those records are in the only place they belong.  If you don’t believe me, just deal with trying to get factory records from the Colt Archives on the same day you’re trying to make a decision on the purchase of a high value Colt.  Or, better yet, ask the Colt Archives to double check a record you believe may be in error.  The response is neither pleasant nor fruitful, while Jesi or Angela happily double check the records and apologize for even the slightest of errors. 

Hit the nail on the head right there….how awesome is it that these records still even exist? I don’t know many companies anymore who cherish the history they’re making right this minute. It seems the digital age should have made this better…and only made it worse.

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April 19, 2024 - 1:42 am
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Jeremy P said

Mark Douglas said

 

One need look no further than to our unprecedented and open access to the Winchester records to know those records are in the only place they belong.  If you don’t believe me, just deal with trying to get factory records from the Colt Archives on the same day you’re trying to make a decision on the purchase of a high value Colt.  Or, better yet, ask the Colt Archives to double check a record you believe may be in error.  The response is neither pleasant nor fruitful, while Jesi or Angela happily double check the records and apologize for even the slightest of errors. 

Hit the nail on the head right there….how awesome is it that these records still even exist? I don’t know many companies anymore who cherish the history they’re making right this minute. It seems the digital age should have made this better…and only made it worse.

  

The folks in charge of records and furnaces were apparently in cahoots several decades back and some records we would all love to see…and some we could care less about…were incinerated to provide heat and steam power for the sprawling Winchester factory. In their defense they had no way of knowing how fascinating and important we would find those records several generations later. Some records were rescued and are in private hands. Some are known, some yet to be discovered. The conservation and access to the surviving Winchester factory records is one reason I’ll be a Cody Firearms Museum as long as I can afford it. If you’re a Winchester (or Marlin, LC Smith, Ithaca or Fox) collector please consider becoming a CFM member.

 

Mike

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