New Museum Of Springfield History To Open October 10

New Museum of Springfield History to Open October 10

The new Museum of Springfield History will open to the public on Saturday, October 10, at 11 a.m. The 40,000-square-foot museum highlights Springfield’s rich history of innovation and entrepreneurship.

Opening day festivities will include the “History on the Move” antique car and motorcycle show on the museum grounds, a ribbon cutting ceremony at 11 a.m., tours of the new museum, car and bicycle demonstrations, and children’s activities.


·         Exhibits in the new museum include: 

  • The city’s role in transportation innovation featuring:
  • More than two dozen Indian Motocycles and related memorabilia
  • An original copy of the 1893 Springfield-built Duryea, the first successful gasoline-powered automobile
  • A three-wheeled Knox, Springfield-built Rolls-Royces, and other automobiles
  • The development of the country’s first motorized Fire Department and first Police Department to use motorcycles
  • Gee Bee (Granville Brothers) aircraft and memorabilia
  • The growth of public transportation, including trains, trolleys and buses
  • The impact of the automobile on American life


·         Springfield’s development as a precision manufacturing center arising out of the skilled labor force attracted to the region by the United States Armory and the arms industry


·         How the four years John Brown lived in Springfield influenced his dedication to the abolitionist cause


·         The history of arms-making in the Pioneer Valley, including a large selection of firearms and related objects manufactured by Smith & Wesson


·         The economic and social conditions that led to the development of nationally known businesses such as:

  • Milton Bradley games
  • Merriam-Webster dictionaries
  • W.F. Young Company (Absorbine Jr.)
  • Breck Shampoo, and others


·         The growth of downtown as the thriving retail, cultural and commercial hub of the region


·         The history and contributions of Springfield College, including the birth of basketball, the college’s connection to the YMCA, and Dr. Martin Luther King’s visit in 1964


·         Additional features of the museum include:

  • The Springfield History Library and Archives which contains 2.5 million manuscripts, 50,000 photographs, 30,000 books, thousands of reels of microfilm, and computer databases for researchers and family genealogists
  • A History Theater to show historical documentaries and present educational programs
  • A visitor orientation area with space for changing exhibitions


The creation of a new Museum of Springfield History has been a long-term goal of the Springfield Museums. In 2005, just two months before his death at the age of 102, M. Allen Swift of West Hartford, Ct., donated $1 million to purchase the former Verizon office building across the street from the Springfield Museums campus to create the new museum. Mr. Swift also donated his single-owner, Springfield-made 1928 Rolls-Royce. A dramatic, three story Great Hall addition with a copper-clad, barrel-vault roof has been added to the original building.


Additional funding to complete the museum has been raised through a combination of public and private sources, including city, state and federal grants, charitable foundations, corporate contributions, and private donations.