Bissell Buzz 2017/3

This week has been slow with only a trickle of visitors.  But this is not always a negative, as even a museum needs to be cleaned, just like any house or office. This gives us time to be deep cleaning the buildings and exhibits, which is a slow process taking care to preserve the condition of the exhibits.  It also has to be done in between visitors and administration tasks.

The  Cecil Kingery Gun Collection that has a home at the Fort, features a “Brown Bess” Musket (Model 1776). This was a standard arm used during the American Revolution.  This type was used by both the Centennial Army and the British.  Many colonists and redcoats fell under its devastating fire and it indeed played a major part in the defeat of the English.   “British military arms were usually stamped with the ruling monarch’s cypher, and often bore the word TOWER along with a broad arrow symbol, the sign of government ownership.   The British musket was affectionately known as the ‘Brown Bess’ after its browned steel finish and Queen Elizabeth I, who reigned from 1558 to 1603.” – from the book 200 Years of American Firearms by James E. Serven.  Our specimen clearly shows the word TOWER and the British Crown.  Come and view this and other magnificent old firearms at the Fort.

Brown Bess

We recently were contacted by the National Archives in Washington, DC who inquired about the break in and theft of some of the guns in this collection back in 1973.  They have now discovered that there was another break in around the same time somewhere else with great similarities and could possibly be linked.  They have asked anyone with more information about the theft at Fort Bissell to come forward with information.

Fun Fridays are to commence again!  This coming Friday 16th our Blacksmith Shop will be in operation and children and their parents too, are invited to come and watch how these guys form items by heating them in the red hot coals in the forge and then hammering and shaping them on the anvil and in the vise.  Children from 6 to 12 years are invited to come and spend an hour or two of fun at the Fort.  It starts at 10am and if you are sending your child, please contact us to let us know in order to prepare beforehand.  With the current hot weather, it is also strongly advised to let them wear a hat and bring something to drink.  Please let us know in advance if you are planning to bring your child(ren), for us to do necessary preparation. We will be putting every attendee’s name in a hat and have a lucky draw to win an item made by the blacksmith.

We are currently awaiting nominations for our Wall of Fame.  Any person from Phillips County who has made a contribution of value to the community, can be nominated.  Previous people that we honored in this way are Tad Felts, John Mason, Eunice Boeve, Betty Berney and Beth VanRoekel.  Please let those nominations come in!

Our hours are Tuesday to Friday 9am to 4pm and Saturdays 9am to 2pm. We are closed Sundays and Mondays.  Regular updates and photos are posted on our Facebook page.  We can be contacted on (785) 543-6212 or by email at Remember entrance is FREE!  Come dig the history at Fort Bissell!!

Ruby Wiehman – Curator