Lock, Stock & Barrel
Location: Lower Level
The History of Weapons on the Plains
Lock, Stock & Barrel, with more than 500 firearms, tells the story of weapons and their importance to people on the plains. The exhibit features everything from the Cheyenne arrow that pinned the Martin Brothers together in an attack during the raids of 1864 to an exhibit on Hastings’ one-armed sharp shooter to the ammunition manufactured at the Navy Ammunition Depot in Hastings.
While the exhibit includes bows and arrows and related weapons, its main feature is guns, beginning with a matchlock gun from the 1780s. From there the exhibit progresses to many flint stock and percussion caps weapons – eventually reaching weapons used in the Vietnam war era, including an AK-47 and M16. More than 200 guns are out in the open, while another 300 are in cases you can open and examine. You’ll also get an up close look at uniforms solders used in Iraq this decade.
Along the way you’ll get to see a Gatling gun, WWI machine guns, sporting guns designed for women and, of course, an original Red Rider BB Gun. (Don’t worry…it’s not loaded, so you won’t shoot your eye out!)
Be sure to look for the exhibit on George Maxwell – Hastings’ one-armed sharp shooter. Yes, he had one arm! He was known across country and the local sheriff said Maxwell was one of the fastest shooters he had ever known even though he used a heavy 9-pound gun. During his competitive years, Maxwell got to shoot with Annie Oakley and Frank Butler – and was even elected to Hastings City Council.
Did you know the term “sharpshooter” was used as early as the Civil War? Hiram Berdan issued “Sharpe’s Rifles” to an infantry regiment selected for their marksmanship. They were called “Sharpe’s Shooters” but the the “e’s” on Sharpe’s was soon dropped, making sharpshooter a universal term to define good marksmen. You can find a Sharp’s Riffle in our exhibit!