Higgins Armory Museum – Worcester, Massachusetts - Atlas Obscura
Join us on an Atlas Obscura Trip in 2019 »

Worcester, Massachusetts

Higgins Armory Museum

Once a private collection, now the only museum of arms and armor in the Western Hemisphere - CLOSED. 

Sorry, Higgins Armory Museum is permanently closed.

The Higgins Armoury Museum, which closed at the end of 2013, was set within an Art Deco pseudo-castle. Decked out with tall flags, it could be seen from the nearby highway.

Inside, the Higgins was larger than it appeared from the outside and full of myriad pieces of armor and weaponry from all over the world, including much from feudal Japan, Renaissance Europe, and ancient Greece and Rome. There were even pieces for you to try on.

Perhaps the item that most caught visitors’ eyes was the model of a dog wearing a suit of 15th-century doggy armor. Armored dogs were often used to protect caravans.

If the armor didn’t catch your eye, the building did. Made of steel and glass, the uniquely odd architecture was completely different inside and out. While outside it was a cold monolith, inside the Higgins resembled a great hall or church. It was designed and built by John Woodman Higgins, a businessman and owner of the Worcester Pressed Steel Company, in 1927. Obsessed with steel and in love with the history of its craft, Higgins referred to his museum as “a temple of steelcraft.”

In March of 2013, it was announced the museum would close in December 2013. The collection was absorbed by the Worcester Art Museum and is now on display among their medieval collection—including Helmutt, still in armor.