Museum Minute: The Winchester Archives

Jan 20, 2021

The Cody Firearms Museum is well known for its huge collection of Winchester firearms. But Danny Michael, museum's curator, said the museum actually has a much larger Winchester archival collection.

"We might have a few thousand firearms that Winchester gave us. But we have 30,000 drawings…engineering drawings that they gave us of how they built these guns, how they built the tools that built these guns, how they laid out their factory," said Michael.

This archival collection is almost as valuable, if not, more valuable than the actual firearms. That's because it gives a sneak peak of the behind the scenes of how Winchester firearms came about including engineering, logistics and the man power.

"One of my favorite things is a phone directory from near the early 1910s, that shows their offices were, who was working in and what their phone number was, and their like four digit numbers, which is really cool," said Michael.

He said they have over 11 million individual production records from Winchester that show how the gun was produced in the factory. The archives are a primary source documentation that provides a lot of information to the museum about the guns at the museum.