The Metropolitan Museum of Art is putting on show “Bashford Dean and the Creation of the Arms and Armor Department” in honor of the founding curator, Bashford Dean, of their medieval arms and armor collection.
According to the article, Dean's interest in armor began with a childhood whim but became a lifelong passion:
In the beginning armor was just a hobby for Dean, starting when he was 9 and tried to buy a helmet at auction, but gradually it became his real life’s work. He married money, moved into Wave Hill, the Bronx estate that is now a public garden, and built an armor hall there to house a growing collection amassed on trips abroad. Next to a 19th-century Japanese suit of lacquered iron-leather-and-silk armor at the Met there is a life-size photograph of Dean, a bearded, lantern-jawed gent, wearing the very same outfit and holding a samurai sword. In another photograph, taken on the lawn at Wave Hill, he is wearing a suit of 16th-century Italian plate armor. Scholarship and connoisseurship aside, what was the point of owning armor unless you could occasionally suit up and clank around?