The John Woodman Higgins Armory Collection

Greek, Corinthian Helmet, 550–450 BCE, bronze

The John Woodman Higgins Armory Collection is the second largest arms and armor collection in the USA. These 1500+ objects range from ancient Egypt to nineteenth-century Japan, but at their heart are the suits of steel armor from medieval and Renaissance Europe.

From 1931 to 2013, the Higgins Collection was on view at Worcester’s Higgins Armory Museum. Since 2014, the collection has been at the Worcester Art Museum, where we are currently working to create a dedicated Arms and Armor gallery to display them.

What Can I See?

Over a hundred objects from the collection are currently on view, including five full suits of armor. Several suits are on display in WAM’s paintings galleries, and ancient armor can be seen in our Greek and Roman galleries. In our Medieval Galleries you can explore Arms and Armor Open Storage, featuring highlights from the collection from across the centuries and around the world. Here you can also try on a helmet or heft a sword to feel what these objects were really like.

In a few years, we will have the entire Higgins Collection on view in a dedicated Arms and Armor Gallery.

What Can I Do?

In addition to the gallery displays, WAM offers a wide range of programs where you can learn more about arms and armor, and even experience firsthand what it was like to wear armor or wield a sword.

* Due to state and local guidelines related to COVID-19 and group gatherings, as well as our concern for the safety and comfort of our patrons and staff, these live presentations and hands-on activities are suspended until further notice.

View the Collection Online

The entire Higgins Collection can be accessed through WAM’s online collection search.

A screenshot of a page of objects in the Higgins Armory Collection online