Tucker, ed. “Display of Arms: A Roundtable Discussion about the Public Exhibition of Firearms and Their History,” with Glenn Adamson, Jonathan S. Ferguson, Josh Garrett-Davis, Erik Goldstein, Ashley Hlebinsky, David D. Miller, & Suzanne Slavick, Technology and Culture, Vol. 59, Issue 3 (July 2018): 719-769. [Free online access through JHU Press].

Today, visits to museums and heritage sites are a principal way by which many people gain historical knowledge about firearms and engage firearms history. In this roundtable, museum and art exhibition curators reflect with me on the meanings, significance, and practices of gun history and heritage.

Do museums have special ethical responsibilities in “public history”? What part do museum
visitors play in creating understandings of the past? What is the relationship between historians and the museums? How does the public display of firearms collections play out in today’s gun debate? Curators from firearms collections and art installations discuss these and other questions.

Display of firearms at the Colt Factory’s on-site museum,
Hartford, CT. Source: CT State Archives.


Jennifer Tucker is a historian who studies the interrelations of art and science, photography, and mass visual culture, with a specialization in 19th to mid-20th century British, U.S., and trans-Pacific history. The common threads in her diverse research fields are the dynamics of visual media in modern history, the nature of evidence, public perceptions and practices of history, and the interrelationships of science, technology, and the law.


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