The Cody Firearms Museum, Buffalo Bill Center of the West, is hosting its annual Kurt Swanson Bucholz Arsenals of History symposium at the Springfield Armory National Historic Site on August 23-26, 2023.

This symposia series was first held in 2017. At the time, it was the first full-scale symposium in the United States that centered specifically on firearms history and museum-related research and content. Since its inception, the symposium has drawn top scholars from around the world, with past and current participating institutions include the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Smithsonian Institution, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Royal Armouries (Leeds), Dutch National Military Museum, National Firearms Museum, and many more.

During my tenure as Curator of the Cody Firearms Museum, I co-founded this symposium with my Assistant Curator – now Curator – Danny Michael to fill a hole in the study of firearms history and material culture. The speaking topics have ranged from technical histories to larger narratives of cultural significance of firearms in our society. The symposium has run every year since its inception, except for one year during COVID.

This year the symposium is hosted at the National Park Service’s Springfield Armory Historic Site. It is the first year that the four-day conference is being held somewhere other than the Cody Firearms Museum.

Tickets are limited to people working in the field of study of firearms history, from historians to collectors to curators and somewhere in between. They can be purchased here.

Over the coming weeks, we will be featuring short essays from the symposium’s participants on the works they are presenting at the event.

Please see below the complete schedule for this year’s symposium.