Historical gun museum to auction off millions worth of items
CLAREMORE, Okla. (KTUL) —
The J.M. Davis Arms and Historical Museum is going to auction off several million dollars of items from their collection, so they can take better care of what remains.
The staff must work with a lean financial situation, so they want to use surplus weapons to fund the preservation of the collection.
The museum holds more than 20,000 firearms and related items, so taking care of the weapons in a big and expensive job.
Historical Collection Specialist, Jason Schubert, said its complicated work.
"There's steel, iron, some of them have brass. There's wood and the firearms may have animal horn and leather," Schubert said.
The materials may all have to be treated differently and the items are all done by hand, one at a time.
Schubert said they hope to add staff to get more of the work done.
To raise the funds some of the collection will be Auction by Heritage Auctions in Dallas on on Sunday, December 9th.
Oklahomans can take part by phone or online and the online bidding is already underway.
It will be the first in a series, to create an endowment of two or three million dollars. But, the auction will only sell duplicate items from the collection.
Executive Director Wayne McCombs said it is so large, that if what they have in storage was put on display, it would be the second-largest collection on earth.
They want people to know the money will only be used for the endowment, it will not go to operating expenses.
Schubert said, "It is very much an ethical issue. If you're not going to take care of artifacts why are you in the museum business?"
Last year the museum got about $242,000 from the state and they raised about $70,000 in donations. Unfortunately, a surge in anti-gun politics has hurt them.
McCombs said, "There's been some people to have raised that concern. Some people have said here's the donation I don’t want any publicity."
He said they've also had fewer school visits because of the gun debate. But McCombs urges people to withhold judgement until they've seen the museum for themselves. He promises a world-class experience.