Historic Rock Ford in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, consisting of General Edward Hand’s circa 1794 mansion and the John J. Snyder, Jr. Gallery of Early Lancaster County Decorative Arts, will host a new exhibit, “Long Rifles of the American Revolution: How Lancaster County Craftsmen Helped Win the War,” June 1 through October 30, at the Snyder Gallery.
The exhibit, curated by Pennsylvania Long Rifle Authority John Kolar, will include approximately 35 Revolutionary War-era rifles from Historic Rock Ford’s collection as well as loaner rifles and related paraphernalia from museums and private collectors from around the country, according to a museum outlet.
Items from lending institutions include places such as the Mercer Museum and the State Museum of Pennsylvania as well as private collections of John Kolar, Paul Ware, David Hansen, and the late Joe Kindig III, among others.
“Of significant consideration will be two loans from the National Museum of the United States Army: the Thomas Tileston 1773 rifle as well as the 1776 seal of the 1st Continental Regiment, of which Edward Hand was the first commander and also commissioned the making of a standard regimental which contains the image on the seal. Edward Hand’s signature is found on the only known surviving document bearing the original impression of this seal,” the statement read.
This exhibit represents the first, and possibly the only, occasion that these weapons have been brought together in a single exhibit, according to the statement.
“It will be accented with storyboards, maps and illustrations of the work of renowned military history artist Don Troiani to place these clever weapons in their own historical context,” the statement read.
The work of prominent Lancaster craftsmen such as JP Beck, Jacob Dickert, Joel Ferree, Heinnerich Fesler and the Bakers, which are just a few examples, will be featured. As articulated in the writings of Joe Kindig Jr. and Joe Kindig III, despite their highly functional purpose, the unique personal styles and advanced craftsmanship of these rifles earned them a prominent place in early American decorative arts as fine examples of what was perhaps the “first truly American art form,” according to the statement.
This exhibit will involve much more than a display of weapons from the Revolutionary War. Rather, it will be presented in a narrative format to tell the story of how Lancaster County and its rifle manufacturers played a pivotal role in providing American rifle regiments with a weapon that provided the precision and flexibility to successfully overturn musket and bayonet tactics. by rigid columns of troops that once ruled the battlefields of 18th century Europe.
“It is especially fitting that this exhibit is held at the Rock Ford estate of Edward Hand, the commander of the 1st Pennsylvania Rifle Regiment, which played a crucial role in the Siege of Boston, the Battle of New York, and the First and of the Second Battles of Trenton,” the statement read.