NRA National Firearms Museum
The NRA National Firearms Museum in Fairfax, Virginia, consists
of 15 galleries comprised of 85 exhibit cases housing 3,000
firearms in a 15,000 square foot facility. The Museum details
and examines the nearly 700-year history of firearms with a special
emphasis on firearms, freedom, and the American experience.
Each gallery is evocative of a period of time in American history,
from the stockade fort at Jamestown to the gun factories of New
England. Life-sized dioramas include a nineteenth-century
riflemaker's shop, a trench on the Western Front in WWI, and a
shelled-out town square in Normandy in WWII. The firearms
tell the stories of how they were used to provide security and
sustenance to the early colonists, how they were used to secure our
freedom and independence, and have been used ever since to maintain
and preserve those liberties. Within the galleries are also tales
of exploration, manufacturing, competition, hunting, and
recreational shooting sports.
"The Robert E. Petersen Gallery" opened in 2010. It has been called "the finest single room of guns anywhere in the world." It features masterpieces of firearms engraving, exquisite British double rifles and shotguns, and the largest collection of Gatling guns on public display"
"Hollywood Guns," located in the William B. Ruger Gallery, features 120 actual guns used in movies and television over the past 80 years. They range from the first revolver John Wayne used on camera through guns from recent Academy Award Winners, such as the silenced shotgun from "No Country for Old Men," and the Barrett .50 cal. sniper rifle from "Hurt Locker." Other favorites in the exhibit include the Beretta pistol used both by Mel Gibson in "Lethal Weapon" and by Bruce Willis in "Die Hard," and the .44 Magnum Smith & Wesson carried by Clint Eastwood in "Dirty Harry."
It also houses a library, available by appointment only.