Like cool old guns and have a soft spot in your heart for those made by Marlin? Did you know that there is a world-renowned museum that specializes in arms and armor and they have a room just for Marlin? If the answer to the first question is yes and you don't already know the answer to the second: it's the Frazier History Museum
What is the Frazier?
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When you walk into the museum, you are greeted with the 3500-pound limestone monument to the 1st German Regiment (32nd Indiana Volunteer Infantry Regiment), a Civil War unit under one Lt. Col. Henry von Trebra that fought at Shiloh and other important battles. The impressive carving is the oldest Civil War monument in existence and has a permanent home at the Frazier. This lets you know, in your first step in the door, that this place is something different. The founder, Mr. Owsley Brown Frazier, had amassed one of the most impressive personal firearms collections on the planet. When he exhibited his collection to the public for the first time in 2000, there was such a crowd of people to come see it that the next year he bought a pair of warehouses along Main Street in downtown Louisville (just down from the Louisville slugger factory) and opened the Frazier Historical Arms Museum.
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The Marlin Exhibit
On the ground floor (they always put the best stuff on the ground floor right?) in the far back corner is a room filled with exquisitely accented Marlin rifles, shotguns, and revolvers. Most of the collection is from the 1880-1920 period, so you have some true gems. In one case is a selection of fine lever action rifles in the highest custom grade you can imagine. Another display case is filled with pump action gallery guns, shotguns and two collector's grade Marlin revolvers from the turn of the century. Unlike some museums that simply have a weapon on display and say, 'Marlin rifle', the Frazier has detailed placards that give the production date, caliber, serial number, make, model, and other very specific information.
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Spread out over 75,000 square feet on three stories, the Frazier has an enormous scope of weapons. Thousands of arms from ancient and medieval armor on loan from the Royal Armouries (Tower of London) in Britain, to modern era firearms are exhibited. Guns belonging to Jesse James, General Custer, Teddy Roosevelt, and George Washington mingle with an impressive array of old wheellocks, German Schutzen rifles, Geronimo's personal handcrafted bow, and rooms of Remingtons, Winchesters, and more Colts than I've ever seen in one place. I spent an entire day wandering its floors and saw just about one of everything including extremely rare guns that previously I have only seen pictures of.
It's something to see, whether you are in it just for the Marlins, or not.
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