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  • Knights!

    Knights! at Worcester Art Museum

    On View Permanently

    Knights! reveals the fascinating place of arms and armor in the broader context of history, storytelling, and art. Only three months after the closing of Worcester’s Higgins Armory Museum, this exhibition marks the first step in the long-term integration of arms and armor into the collection of the Worcester Art Museum. This process ensures that a treasure of national importance remains in Worcester and continues to delight future generations of museum-goers from within the city and across the region.
     “Integrating the Higgins collection allows us to build on our creative programming and community engagement, and is an incredible opportunity to develop a new approach to presenting these beautiful works of art," said WAM Director Matthias Waschek.
    In presenting arms and armor in the context of its encyclopedic collections, the Museum will create a new framework for exploring this material. It will break away from the traditional forms of installation, encouraging visitors to appreciate armor for its aesthetic and social purposes, as much as its martial one. The pieces included in Knights! are largely from Medieval and Renaissance Europe, with additional cultures and periods represented as well. The exhibition’s five separate sections—Courtly Pursuits, The Dance of Love and War, Knights of the Round Table, Triumphal Arch, and The Corridor of Good + Evil—illustrate in detail the historical context in which these works were made and used.
    Within the final room of the exhibition, viewers will be able to compare and contrast wars of the past with those of the present, drawing on information about real-time conflicts from The Pulitzer Center for Crisis Reporting. Examining the use of contemporary weaponry, Guns Without Borders in Mexico and Central America will showcase the work of Dominic Bracco II, Carlos Javier Ortiz, and Louie Palu, all documentary photographers with deep experience capturing images of conflict.

    Knights! will invite family participation and provide new ways to see arms and armor. The adventures of the Higgins’ mascot, a dog suited in armor named Helmutt, is a family element of the show. Throughout the exhibition, he will be included on illustrated signage inviting children to engage with featured objects. Signs featuring Helmutt will urge greater exploration of particular themes or objects, or point to additional programming and educational opportunities for children.

    Image: Stefan Rormoser of Innsbruck, Armor for field and tilt, of Count Franz von Teuffenbach, detail, The John Woodman HIggins Collection, 2014.80

    In partnership with:

    Media sponsor: WGBH


    Print sponsors: Worcester Telegram and Gazette / The Boston Globe

    worcester-telegram-and-gazetteBoston Globe 

    Sponsored in part by Cole Contracting, Inc., Reliant Medical Group and Unum

    cole contractingreliant medical groupunum

    The Collection

    One of the most significant collections of arms and armor outside of Europe, with approximately 2,000 pieces, these treasured objects will be fully incorporated into the Worcester Art Museum in a second phase installation by 2020. For more information on this long term vision, visit our frequently asked questions page.

    Click here to see some Higgins Collection Highlights

    Significant funding for the Higgins Armory Collection Integration has been provided by The George I. Alden Trust,Fred Harris Daniels Foundation, Inc., The Fletcher Foundation, The George F. and Sybil H. Fuller Foundation, The Stoddard Charitable Trust, and The Manton Foundation. Additional support has been provided by the Hoche-Schofield Foundation, the Rockwell Foundation, and the Massachusetts Cultural Council.


    Chivalric and deadly, 'Knights!' have arrived at WAM - The Herald News
    Critic's picks: Museum exhibits - The Boston Globe
    Worcester Art Museum hires Higgins Armory curator - The Boston Globe
    Batman movie suit to be displayed at Worcester Art Museum Knights! exhibit
    - Mass Live
    "Knights!" Exhibition Breathes New Life into Higgins Armory Collection - Worcester Magazine
    What Comes Next, After the Troops Are Dismissed - New York Times
    A Bell Tolls for the Higgins, a Quirky Armor Museum - New York Times

    Audio / Video
    Worcester Art Museum Relives Medieval Times With 'Knights!' - WGBH
    Two on the Aisle: Knights! - WCUW FM 91.3
    Worcester Art Museum Bringing New Life to the Higgins Armory - Destination Worcester
    Worcester Art Museum's Knights Exhibit - CharterTV3
    WAM Knights Exhibit Preview - CharterTV3
    GO! Knights! at WAM - Worcester Telegram and Gazette
    Little Engines That Can - Chronicle WCVB Channel 5 Boston


    Helmutt the Dog

    helmutt the dog

    Hi I'm Helmutt and I can't wait to meet you!
    Click to learn more


    ren celebration auction

    A Renaissance Celebration: A Gala Auction fundraiser celebrating the Higgins Collection Integration and supporting the Museum and its exciting path forward

    Saturday, June 14, 2014, 6pm

    Feast - Bid - Drink - Dance - Enjoy

    When considering what to wear, consider The Look.

    This revelrous event --featuring music, mead and merriment—will be host to 400+ of the region’s most prominent and influential art enthusiasts, business leaders, and style-makers for a resplendent evening celebrating the Higgins Collection Integration and supporting the Museum and its exciting path forward.

    An elegant night of cocktails, dinner, live and silent auctions, period entertainment and a festive dance party are planned for this enchanting evening. Step back in time to the Renaissance -- complete with Kings, Queens, Knights, Lords and Ladies.  Enjoy a taste of mead provided by Chaucer’s Mead, a gourmet dinner in the Garden Stoddard Court beautifully prepared by Russell Morin Fine Catering, and finish out the night in the Cafe with the band Legit... be sure to bring your dancing shoes!

    This year’s auction, offers a rich mix of art, experiences, and goods that will delight the crowd, and will provide many opportunities to further support this great institution. Early bidding starts June 4th via biddingforgood.org.

    The dress for the evening is creative black tie which leads to many possibilities. For some inspiration take a peek at “The Look,” a fashion photo shoot to inspire gala attendees.

    Tickets start at $275 for the entire evening and $75 for the Dance Party only.

    Purchase Tickets

    For more information and sponsoring opportunities, please contact Kristen Baker, 508-793-4301 or rencelebration@worcesterartmuseum.org

    Sponsored in part by
    peoples-united-bank Washington Mills Skinner Auctioneers Sweet Worcester Fletcher Tilton Attorneys  Interstate Specialty Products



    Past Events

    Knights! Opening Party

    Thank you for making this a great event!

    Click here to read Director Matthias Waschek's KNIGHTS! Exhibition Opening Speech

    Friday, March 28
    7-8pm Members Only

    Join us for an evening of medieval revelry as we celebrate the opening of Knights! This premiere event will feature an evening packed with performances, music, theatrics, and more. WAM rolls out the red carpet for this flamboyant extravaganza!

    Featuring the musical acts:

    Corey Harris
    Corey Harris - 9:00pm
    Vapors of Morphine
    Vapors of Morphine - 7:30pm

    Just added!: 7:00pm: Iza Jane, and 8:00pm: Leo "Bud" Welch, with Big Jon Short

    Fire Performer, Jugglers, and a variety of Roaming Entertainers

    Food for Sale & Cash Bar provided for sale by Russell Morin Fine Catering .

    Online ticket sales closed. Tickets available from the Museum Admission desk, or on the night of the event.

    Valet parking available ($5). Free parking is available at the Salisbury Street lot, off Lancaster Street in the designated WAM Visitors lot, and at the Tuckerman Street lot for barrier free entrance. Additional parking is available at the Highland Street Municipal Lot. Directions

    Sponsored by Fallon Health and Saint-Gobain,

    Fallon Community Health Plan  saint gobain   Imperial Distributors, Inc.


    Knights Renaissance Faire

    Thank you for making this a great event!

    Saturday, March 29, 10am-5pm and
    Community Day: Sunday, March 30, 11am-5pm

    WAM is celebrating the opening of Knights! all weekend, featuring celebratory music; costumed performers; theater; storytelling; and artmaking workshops.

    Learn about the knights with our new Art Cart and team of educators throughout the galleries. On Saturday, come dressed as your favorite historical figure; knights, pirates, princesses, and more! On Sunday, we celebrate fantasy. Dress as an inspired super hero and enjoy all the fairies, wizards, and other colorful characters wandering around the galleries. Each day will have great food and beverages for sale.

    Food for Sale: a select menu of Renaissance Faire inspired food, provided by Russell Morin Fine Catering. Enjoy Roast Turkey leg, Grilled Brats, Vegetable Barley Soup, and more.

    Free parking is available at the Salisbury Street lot, off Lancaster Street in the designated WAM Visitors lot, and at the Tuckerman Street lot for barrier free entrance. Click here for Directions.

    Saturday, March 29 Highlights

    Featuring live music by:

    11:00 Grade "A" Fancy

    12:00 Big Jon Short

    12:30 Matt Robert

    1:00 Ten Foot Polecats

    1:30 Danielle Miraglia

    2:00 Brendan Hogan

    2:00 Cannibal Ramblers

    3:00 Leo "Bud" Welch

    3:30 Rich "AD" Leufstedt

    Tours: Family Tour & Zip Tour (Wicar’s “Electra Receiving the Ashes of her Brother, Orestes.”)

    Face Painter & Stilt-Walker in the Lancaster Lobby

    Art Activities: Shield Making & Chain Mail Making

    Celtic Warrior vs a Roman Soldier; How to Use a Samurai Sword with Gordon Fisher

    Activities in the Knights! Exhibition:

    Theatrical Reading of Shakespeare with Clark University Students
    Medieval Gaming: Play medieval versions of Chess, Checkers, and 9 Men’s Morris
    Helmutt’s House Interactive Space: Check out our new Art Cart and family friendly activity space.

    Meet Blacksmith Jack McAuliffe

    Meet Select members of the Legion III Cyrenaica: Roman Legion living history group that attempts to recreate the daily life of the Roman soldier in the 1st century AD.

    Sunday, March, 30

    Featuring live music by:

    11:30 Big Jon Short and Zack Slik

    12:00 Marylou Ferrante

    1:00 Erin Harpe

    2:00 Paul Geremia

    3:00 Paul Rishell and Annie Raines

    Tours: Public Tour of Knights!

    Face Painter & Stilt-Walker in the Lancaster Lobby

    Art Activities: Shield Making, Dragon Puppets, & Chain Mail Making                   

    Activities in the Knights! Exhibition:

    Medieval Gaming: Play medieval versions of Chess, Checkers, and 9 Men’s Morris
    Helmutt’s House Interactive Space: Check out our new Art Cart and family friendly activity space.

    Meet Blacksmith Jack McAuliffe

    Sunday Community Day sponsored by UniBank


    Armor-wearing and Weapons Policy

    During themed event days and for special programs, Worcester Art Museum visitors are welcome to come in appropriate costumes, excluding any kind of armor, helmets, or shields.  Weapons are not allowed in the museum, even if they are part of a costume.  This policy includes weapon-like objects, real, reproduction, fantasy, home-made, or prop weapons. Please leave your weapons at home!


    The Museum Shop

    Looking to buy your child's first suit of armor? Visit our Museum Shop! You'll find books and games about chivalry, castle building and medieval life, as well as fantastic figurines and dazzling dragons. For the Lord or Lady, we have shimmering knights in armor to decorate any castle, and don't forget the jewelry—fit for a Queen!

    More Information

    Book a Tour

    To arrange a private, guided tour for your group of 10 or more please visit our Group Tours page.


    For a list of current and upcoming related youth and adult classes, and to register online, visit our Education Classes page.


    Download the press release

    For press inquiries, contact Monica Elefterion, Worcester Art Museum, monicaelefterion@worcesterart.org or by calling 508.793.4369.

    A Renaissance for the Higgins at WAM

    The integration of the Higgins Armory collection into the Worcester Art Museum is transformative. As we embrace the spirit of the Higgins collection, WAM is re-imagining the way we communicate the story of our collections to create more meaningful connections for you with the works of art in our care... Read more, see FAQs and view a timeline of events