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“Should be in a Museum”
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May 6, 2024 - 4:02 pm
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Louis Luttrell said

Bert H. said

 

Lou,

You can solve the problem by opening up your gun room to the public for viewing… charge $5 per person through the door and call it the Louis Luttrell personal museum Laugh

Bert

Great idea Bert!!!  Then I can declare the “museum” a not for profit, donate my guns to myself, and take a big tax write off…  Have my cake and eat it too!!! Laugh  Wait a minute… Hasn’t that already been done???  I thought his role in assisting such tax fraud is what sent Larry Wilson to prison… Frown

It’s true RRM and a few other WACA members who like M70s have honored me with a visit.  I think there are a couple more due to drop in soon.  For anyone interested, my “M70 museum” is located in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, not far from Interstate 81 near Winchester VA.  Admission is free.  Hours are whenever you’re in the neighborhood.  Just call ahead… Laugh

Still… For the general gun enthusiast, a trip to the Cody Firearms Museum, the NRA museum in Fairfax VA, or the NRA/Bass Pro museum in Springfield MO would prove more interesting, and the ability of museums these days to create “virtual” exhibits that can be viewed globally means you don’t have to travel to see artifacts that might otherwise be locked up in a vault somewhere.  Not the “hands on” experience RRM is talking about, but far better than nothing IMHO…

Lou

  

R.L. Wilson was nailed for running a Ponzi scheme.  He should have been nailed for ripping off the Colt museum (taking high grade guns and replacing them with junk).  What finally got him was one of his “well heeled” foreign clients.  Wilson was involved in numerous shady deals over his not so illustrious criminal career!

Bert

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May 6, 2024 - 4:20 pm
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Folks,  Let me add my 2 cents worth here.  First a bit of background.  I am on the board of the Kibbe and Hancock Heritage Museum in my home town.  Been on the board previous to present, much of it as President of the Board.  We have a presentation of WWI and WWII firearms, plus a few Civil War and War of 1898, plus uniforms and accoutrements.  Plus lots of other artifacts of local interest with no bearing on this topic.  Louis makes a very valid point.  Once an item is donated and accepted, the museum owns it and can sell it for assets to put to other needs/desires.  We are city owned and I am appointed by the Mayor and approved by the whole council, thus we do have to keep the city happy and comply with their desires.  Years ago we had to sell off a fair amount of items (no firearms tho) to help satisfy a law suit against the city that was not the fault of the museum.  Will go no further there.  Now with that background I will say we currently have a fair number of board members friendly to firearms and a visiting public often attracted to them.  We do clean them to preserve them and try to keep the atmospheric conditions friendly to them.  Yet it would be easy to get new board members appointed who do not care for firearms and they could be sold off to have more quilts to display, etc.  I own a firearm that belonged to the Winchester Collection at one time.  I have no intent nor desire to donate it back nor to ever donate a firearm to ANY museum!  I have instead put on displays at Cody and once at the NRA convention.  All a royal pain in the butt to do.  I so hope you appreciate what others may display at Cody or the Colorado Gun Collectors, the Ohio Gun Collectors, etc!  But to say any firearm “should be in a museum” is a dangerous path to take as it may be sold off, or not stored correctly (firearms museums not included), or put in a safe to reduce attraction for burglary, etc.  In my view such an arm is best in a caring individual’s possession as it will be cared for dearly and enjoyed by the owner and near and dear friends.   Tim  PS.  I show off my collection to select fellow collectors that I feel I can trust.  If passing my way, call me and we can make arrangements.  Do not ask if you don’t already have my phone number or address!

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May 6, 2024 - 4:28 pm
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Seems to me Wilson was a victim of the rich & famous lifestyle and his own greed. That’s a shame because he was a gifted author and articulate expert on his History Channel appearances. 

 

Mike

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May 6, 2024 - 4:49 pm
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To my selfish way of thinking Lou’s M51 and RCS rifles are excellent examples of why I support private ownership of fine guns. How many of us would be aware of these treasures and others featured on this forum or in WACA publications if they were behind glass (worse yet, in a back room!) in a distant museum? Travel is difficult and/or expensive for many of us, through the magic of Al Gore’s internet we can see and learn about them in our comfy armchairs.
Thank you Lou, and all the other generous members who share their guns and knowledge with us!

 

Mike

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May 6, 2024 - 5:06 pm
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Good Stuff Lou!

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May 6, 2024 - 6:20 pm
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OK OK… I SURRENDER!!!  Seems clear I’m in a distinct minority here… Embarassed

My thinking as it relates to museums (at least what they COULD and IMHO SHOULD be), revolves around the notion of maximizing ACCESS.  Places where individuals who have an interest in a subject can go to get information…  Most people (me, for example) with an interest in old Winchesters will never have the resources to amass a meaningful/satisfying private collection.  Nor do they (I) have Tim’s phone number and address… 

True… An artifact locked in the basement vault of a museum is no more accessible than the same item locked in a safe in someone’s house.  True… A museum’s collection (accession/deaccession plan) is at the mercy of its Curators and oversight Boards, and subject to change in ways that a donor may not like.  True… Being able to handle an artifact is more satisfying than looking at it behind glass…  

As Mike has said, this forum does provide a venue for exchange of information on old Winchesters, and the ongoing (unpaid) work of Winchester scholars like Bert, Jeff, Michael (and several others), along with their willingness to share their findings, adds to the collective knowledge base.  But really, how many people are regular followers/contributors to this forum?  More followers than contributors, I’m sure.  But even if WACA is the premier venue for learning about our subject (IMHO it IS the premier venue), we’re still talking mainly to ourselves.  

In my naive view, museums could/should be able to reach a larger audience.  Yes Clarence, I know MOST people don’t/won’t care.  Victims of a dumbed down educational system, shallow consumer oriented culture, etc.  But unlike me, museums can exist not only in physical space, they can also exist virtually.  I can go on-line, “visit” the NRA Museum in Fairfax, and see (at least images of) everything they have on display in every gallery.  A museum could/should have an accessible archive/catalog of all their holdings, available on-line that can be searched/viewed/browsed by members of the public who have (even a passing) interest.  The McCracken Library’s digital archives (while not completely on-line and a major pain to search) is a step in this direction, and I applaud the effort.  If CFM, for example, did the same with all of their material holdings, firearms and artifacts, including the ones in storage, then more people would have access than the WACA Forum is ever likely to reach.

In that vein, I don’t think that donating (or loaning) an artifact to a museum (with all the previously expressed caveats) is necessarily detrimental to the hobby or a crime against private collectors.  The better the museum’s collection, the more information can be accessed by more people. 

Since my personal collecting “goal”, over (40) years has been to build a M70 “reference collection” (not an investment portfolio), I wonder if I shouldn’t put together a “collection monograph” that could be viewed on-line.  I don’t have the biggest M70 collection (not even close), and my focus on “cataloged production” means I’ve stayed away from the “rare one-off” stuff, but I could do a decent job of illustrating most every step in the evolution of the product.  Something potential M70 collectors could access to see representative examples of “correct” guns.  Heck… I’ve already photographed the collection.  How hard could it be???  A book is great… Lots of opportunity to present information in great detail.  But maybe, at best (1000) hard copies???  And if they ever sell out, we’ll be complaining about how access to information is hampered by the price of books… 

Anyway, just my NAIVE take… Laugh

Lou

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May 6, 2024 - 6:45 pm
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TXGunNut said That’s a shame because he was a gifted author and articulate expert on his History Channel appearances.

A damn shame.  I recorded the HC firearms series for which he served as spokesman & demonstrator; matchlocks, I learned, have almost instantaneous ignition, much faster than flint ignition.

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May 6, 2024 - 6:45 pm
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Lou,

If you published the book tomorrow, it would sell more than 1,000 copies in the first 6-months.  I honestly believe that you could sell at least 2,500 copies within a year of publication.  We currently have more than 3,000 active WACA members, and my bet is that nearly all of them would buy a copy of the book!

Bert

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May 6, 2024 - 6:55 pm
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I will take 2 Wink

I don’t invest in guns, I invest in books, the ROI is better Laugh

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May 6, 2024 - 6:56 pm
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Bert H. said
Lou,

If you published the book tomorrow, it would sell more than 1,000 copies in the first 6-months.  I honestly believe that you could sell at least 2,500 copies within a year of publication.  We currently have more than 3,000 active WACA members, and my bet is that nearly all of them would buy a copy of the book!

Bert

  

I’d be good for 2 copies

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May 6, 2024 - 7:14 pm
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OK, count me in for (2) copies as well Cool

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May 6, 2024 - 7:33 pm
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I would certainly be at the front of the line for your book Lou! Keep up your important work and thank you again for answering my questions.

Darrin

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May 6, 2024 - 7:37 pm
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I’m not super into Model 70s, but I’ll take a book! Get on it!

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May 6, 2024 - 8:17 pm
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Interestingly, here’s a revolver I owned once…for a second or two…before I was outbid.  Instead of a museum deacquisitioning it, a consortium of billionaires provided funds for it to be acquired by the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  The reverse of the premise of this thread.  Conversely, now private acquisition is all but impossible.

https://live.amoskeagauction.com/lot-details/index/catalog/84/lot/45260/Magnificent-Gustave-Young-Engraved-and-Gold-Inlaid-Smith-Wesson-Model-1-1-2-Second-Issue-Factory-Exhibition-Revolver?url=%2Fauctions%2Fcatalog%2Fid%2F84%3Fpage%3D1%26view%3Dlist%26catm%3D2%26order%3Dorder_num%26xclosed%3D0%26featured%3D0%26key%3DEngraved%2Bsmith

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May 6, 2024 - 8:24 pm
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Lou,  you need to write a heavily illustrated and annotated book that focuses on your collection. Your peers have spoken. Do it now, before your exquisitely educated brain starts accumulating plaque and you can’t spell “Winchester” anymore. 

Your many friends here will volunteer to proofread your drafts and correct your slightest pre-publication errors. Trust me.

As a bonus for your efforts, Clarence and I promise to toughen your ego against the post-publication jibes of idiots, by constantly bombarding you during the writing process with insults and laughing at your writing style — for the insignificant price of five first editions (for each of us) dedicated to us by you in such words as we may specify.

So. Power to your elbow and get going. Tempus fugit. 

Your friend,

Bill

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May 6, 2024 - 8:43 pm
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Oh, and LOAN things to even a sympathetic museum on the condition they be on constant display, with a reversion to your foundation (if you have one) or to your heirs or devises.  That solves the risk of sale problem because the bailee is not to have a power of sale or other disposition except to terminate the loan and return the items. It can be a measure of how sincerely a museum wants the items for display.  If they reject the terms. $crew ’em. 

[DISCLAIMER: this is not legal advice. Consult a lawyer competent in the field to draft the loan document.  ALWAYS GET IT IN WRITING, as my great grandmother said just before they sprang the trap door.]

- Bill 

 

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"I have seen wicked men and fools, a great many of both, and I believe they both get paid in the end, but the fools first." -- David Balfour, narrator and protagonist of the novel, Kidnapped, by Robert Louis Stevenson.

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May 6, 2024 - 9:22 pm
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Zeb-

The one fully illustrated chapter (with page layout) that I’ve finished HAS been read by several WACA members, including Seewin and TXGunNut, as well as Justin Hale (pre64win.com).  I got plenty of good feedback!!!  😀  And I’m being serious…  If you need a good laugh I can send you the Dropbox link… Wink

I have a background in “technical writing” in the form of maybe a couple hundred scientific journal articles published over my career, and photography has been a hobby since high school.  So the good news is that this isn’t “work”…   But each chapter is a sizeable photography project in its own right (just ask JWA!!!).  All those PARTS, all those SIGHTS, etc.  Takes time… Tracking down source documents, and the SURVEY… Takes even more time!!!  The good news is that I can illustrate the common stuff with pics of rifles I have here… The better news is that several WACA members have volunteered to contribute information and photos of rare stuff that I don’t/won’t ever have…  Only a relatively few guns shown will involve auction house photos… 

Assuming this does get finished, it will be a WACA “community effort”… 

And by the way… I’m sure my plaque burden already involves more than my teeth!!! Laugh

Best,

Lou

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May 6, 2024 - 9:41 pm
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Lou:

Marvelous collection, thanks for sharing your guns and your valued views on collecting and museum.  On the subject of books – suggest you examine the Model 1895 book by Kassab and Dunbar.  A masterful work done to perfection.  Current copies are hard to come by and selling for up to $550 each in pristine condition.  A similar format on the Model 70 would certainly warrant a 2,000 copy print run IMHO.  You ought to talk to Rob Kassab and get his thoughts.

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May 6, 2024 - 10:13 pm
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Hi Rick-

Thank you for the advice!!!

I was one (of many) who “pre-reserved” a copy of Brad and Rob’s book…  I haven’t a clue about the M1895/95 (outside of their book), but I KNEW that the “production value” of anything those guys did would be flat out AMAZING!!! WHICH IT IS!!!  Approaching the quality of their work is the goal…

IMHO, initiating the actual publication process can wait until there’s more content in-hand.  But I’m confident (at least I hope) that Brad, Rob and Jeff (and any other WACA members who’ve done books) can help me with the pitfalls of the process if/when the time comes…  

Thanks!!!

Lou

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May 6, 2024 - 10:24 pm
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Zebulon said
Oh, and LOAN things to even a sympathetic museum on the condition they be on constant display, with a reversion to your foundation (if you have one) or to your heirs or devises.  That solves the risk of sale problem because the bailee is not to have a power of sale or other disposition except to terminate the loan and return the items. It can be a measure of how sincerely a museum wants the items for display.  If they reject the terms. $crew ’em. 

[DISCLAIMER: this is not legal advice. Consult a lawyer competent in the field to draft the loan document.  ALWAYS GET IT IN WRITING, as my great grandmother said just before they sprang the trap door.]

  

I don’t have any personal experience with donating to a museum.  However, I’ve know of people who have, based on a fantasy of how it would go.  They did not take any precautions or set any stipulations such as Zebulon suggests.  They ended up very disappointed.  In some cases, the items were never displayed. And the museum was free to sell them to generate funds for whatever the museum felt they had the need for.

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