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Historical Inspiration This forum is dedicated to the discussion of historical knife design and its influence on modern custom knife work.

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Old 10-15-2013, 10:55 PM
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"A Sure Defense: The Bowie Knife in America"

Thanks to Mark Zalesky for inviting me to photograph over 200 authentic Bowie era knives to be featured in the exhibit described below. Quoting Mark:

"Below is a press release announcing an exhibit, "A Sure Defense: The Bowie Knife in America," which will be opening in December in Little Rock. This exhibit is being curated by myself and HAM Director Bill Worthen, and will feature knives from private collections and institutions across the country. This will be a rare opportunity for folks to learn about the Bowie knife and to see firsthand some of the rarest and most important Bowie knives in existence.
Note that this exhibit will be open during the weekend of the Arkansas Knifemakers Association's Arkansas Custom Knife Show in February, which is a superb show located just a few blocks away. As noted in the release, there will also be a grand opening celebration the weekend of Dec. 13th-14th.
Truly, a once in a lifetime opportunity for people to see these knives up close and personal. Please help us spread the word about this exhibit, and encourage others to come. If you like Bowie knives (and who doesn't?), you won't want to miss this."

The Largest and Most Important Bowie Knife Exhibit Ever Assembled to Open
More than 200 knives will be displayed December 13 to June 22

LITTLE ROCK (Sept. 9, 2013) ? Historic Arkansas Museum is proud to present "A Sure Defense: The Bowie Knife in America" in the Horace C. Cabe Gallery, December 13, 2013, through June 22, 2014. There will be a free opening reception on December 13, 5 ? 8 p.m., in conjunction with downtown Little Rock?s 2nd Friday Art Night and the museum?s eggnog competition, the 9th Ever Nog-off. There will be live music; and a surprise guest of bowie knife fame is planned. As part of 2nd Friday Art Night, a free shuttle is available to transport visitors to other Art Night venues. Shuttle service ends at 8:30 p.m. Admission to the gallery is free.

?This exhibit is the largest and most important ever done on America?s iconic contribution to the world of blades,? said Historic Arkansas Museum Director Bill Worthen. "A Sure Defense: The Bowie Knife in America" will trace the history of this country?s most famous knife from just before its birth in a rough melee on a sandbar above Natchez, Mississippi in 1827, to the skilled craftsmen who keep the classic blade alive to this day in the form of hand crafted reproductions and modernized versions.

Visitors to the public exhibit will have the opportunity to see knife designs associated with Alamo martyr James Bowie and his less famous brother Rezin, and to examine bowie knives once owned by such historic figures as Davy Crockett, Theodore Roosevelt, General Winfield Scott and John Fox ?Bowie Knife? Potter. The role of the bowie knife in the Antebellum era is explored along with the Civil War and the opening of the west, and there?s a special focus on the role bowie knives played in the events surrounding the assassination of Abraham Lincoln.

Among the 19th century knives featured will be those attributed to Arkansas?s own James Black, known knifemakers to the Bowie brothers Henry Schively and Daniel Searles, master silversmith of Texas and Tennessee Samuel Bell, and the highly skilled makers of the California school including Michael Price and Will & Finck. Fine English Bowies are also well represented with knives by such makers as Samuel Wragg, W. & S. Butcher, J. Walters and Charles Congreve; as are some of the finest known Northern and Southern blades from the Civil War. Visitors can also expect to see a superb group of folding bowie knives, and a variety of other knives that served as backup weapons during the Bowie knife era, such as push daggers and dirk knives.

In total, more than 200 knives are included in the exhibit. A full color catalog documenting this historic exhibit is planned, and will be available from the museum?s gift shop and online store.

Historic Arkansas Museum is open 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday, 1 - 5 p.m. on Sunday. Admission to the galleries and parking are free; tours of historic grounds are $2.50 for adults, $1 for children under 18, $1.50 for senior citizens. The Historic Arkansas Museum Store is open 10 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday, 1 - 4 p.m. on Sunday.

Historic Arkansas Museum is an agency of the Department of Arkansas Heritage, which was created in 1975 to preserve and enhance the heritage of the state of Arkansas. Other agencies of the department are Delta Cultural Center in Helena, Arkansas Arts Council, Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission, Arkansas Historic Preservation Program, Mosaic Templars Cultural Center and Old State House Museum.

These knives will take you back in time! Photographs are no substitute for the real thing, so don't miss the exhibit. With that in mind, of the 167 I've shot so far here are a few of my favorites:






A Searles engraved pistol!


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Old 10-22-2013, 12:29 AM
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I just want to thank you for sharing the photos of these wonderful old blades...


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Old 10-22-2013, 09:14 AM
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Thanks, Buddy. Wish I could be there.
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Old 10-22-2013, 08:48 PM
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Buddy,

Thanks for posting. I know where I will be the Friday before the Arkansas Show. It's not often that so many historic blades are on display at the same place.


Gary


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Old 02-28-2014, 09:13 AM
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I spent many pleasant hours at the exhibit during my stay in Little Rock for the AKA Show and must say that the display was all that everyone expected & more. I believe that the total of the knives on display was 208.

Here are a few pictures taken that weekend:





















The exhibit is going to be there until June 22 and I can easily say that it is well worth a trip to Little Rock to see as this many famous knives may never be together again.

Gary


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Old 02-28-2014, 11:20 PM
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Ok, I'm drooling just a bit.... must make it to Little Rock soon.


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antique, art, blades, bowie, california, civil war, custom, custom knife, daggers, engraved, folding, hand, john, knife, knives, make, mosaic, pistol, press, store, weapons


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