Higgins Armory to close

The Higgins Armory Museum, much beloved of SCAdians, will be closing at the end of the year. The museum houses one of the biggest collections of arms and armor in the United States.

The museum is closing because they do not have the funds to guarantee they can cover costs in the future. Maintenance of the Art Deco building, which is steel on the outside and resembles a medieval hall on much of the inside, contributed to the financial problems.

The Worcester Art Museum will be taking over the collection and plans to eventually display many of the artifacts.

The Higgins collection includes a vast array of medieval armor and weapons along with eclectic pieces such as pistol-proofed breastplates, dog armor, and a chastity belt. Many of the suits of armor are not contained in glass, allowing armory researchers to get a close up of details not usually visible in museum displays.

Aside from the armor, the Higgins is known for its wide array of interactive programming including lectures, a children's dress-up room, fencing lessons, and gaming demos.

Local SCA groups enjoyed a warm relationship with the Higgins. In exchange for friendly docents who were tolerant of enthusiastic SCA scholars, the Higgins' large medieval-themed gift shop benefitted from many equally enthusiastic SCA shoppers.