« Thursday, May 23rd »
A few years ago my wife and I were visiting the Gettysburg Battlefield. We were taking in their rather impressive collection of Civil War weapons and artifacts. That evening at dinner, my wife reflected on a past visit with her father to the Gettysburg Battlefield and Museum.
"Dad and I looked at those guns in awe. I remember thinking how amazing it was to be looking at something that was over 100 years old! I thought these guns must be rare priceless treasures. They must be the last ones left," she said while starting to laugh.
She went on, "It seems funny to have had those thoughts. After seeing the Baltimore Show, I find out that Civil War weapons aren't rare; there are hundreds in one room! And I can buy them and build my own version of the collection at Gettysburg. What a revelation!"
I agreed, "Yes, the Baltimore Show has been an eye opening experience."
"You know the Civil War guns were nice to see, but I must confess that I was really impressed by the Revolutionary War muskets and rifles. Imagine owning something that was in the Revolution, something over 200 years old! How cool is that?" she exclaimed.
"I know. The Baltimore Show is better than any museum. You can really learn a lot from that show even if you aren't in the market to buy anything."
Thinking back to our conversation that evening, I realize what a profound influence the show has had on us. In the early days of building our collection, we weren't sure how broad our collecting interest would be. This was the first and only show that we were both so overwhelmed that we actually had to go back for the second day just to see everything. I felt like a sponge just trying to absorb as much as I could.
Attending the show helped us focus our goals of what would be achievable as far as availability and price. So much of what we thought was "rare" and unattainable we found for sale at the Baltimore Show. Even if we couldn't afford a piece, we could at least study the various examples available and gain an understanding of rarity, price and quality.
Simply stated, the Baltimore Show is a museum where you can buy the exhibits! It is an invaluable opportunity to learn about martial arms, swords, and other militaria. If you have an interest in history, then you must make an effort to attend this show.
The show contains 1,000 tables of antique arms and accoutrements. There are swords, knives, antique ordnance and cartridges, uniforms and equipment both US and foreign. Most firearms are pre-1898, but there is a healthy representation of martial longarms up through the Second World War. There are educational displays by the Marine Corps Heritage Center, Harpers Ferry and Springfield Armory National Historic Sites, as well as private collections. There are even reenactments of Manual of Arms from the War of 1812.
The MACA has published the dates for future Baltimore Shows. So if you are unable to make this year's show, March 17 & 18, 2007, then you may want to view the upcoming dates and make arrangements for a future show. The show is open to the public Saturday 9:00 am to 5:00 pm and Sunday 9:00 am to 3:00 pm. Admission is $5.00 and well worth the price!
March 21-22, 2009
March 20-21, 2010
March 19-20, 2011
Special thanks to Mr. Richard Berglund for his assistance with this article.