The Margie & Robert E. Petersen Foundation has completed the largest donation in the history of the National Firearms Museum, providing the final gift in a three-year program that added nearly 500 firearms and countless other exhibits to the museum’s galleries.
Foundation President GiGi Carleton and Trustee Ted Calleton presented NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre with the final stage of the donation on March 27 at a reception at NRA Headquarters.
The gift is the largest firearms donation to the National Firearms Museum in its 77-year history, and will become part of the Robert E. Petersen Gallery that was established at the beginning of the donation process in October 2010.
Included among the historically important pieces are the world's largest collection of Gatling Guns on public display, Hermann Goring's Merkel Shotgun, which was a present from General Eisenhower to General Pershing in 1945; a shotgun from Colonel Buffalo Bill Cody to Annie Oakley; the three Parker Invincibles, considered the finest and most valuable American made shotguns extant; the only 8-gauge shotgun made by Colt which was presented to President Grover Cleveland; President John F. Kennedy's Colt New Frontier revolver and the finest double guns made by Boss, Purdey, Holland & Holland, Westley Richards, Winchester, Galazan and many others.
Also among the gifts was the famed 1876 Harrington & Richardson "pinwheel" revolver board, thought to be the only intact exhibit from the Centennial Exposition. Other items included priceless examples of sporting art and bronzes and memorabilia from the incredible life of Robert E. Petersen, founder of Petersen Publishing—the parent company of Guns & Ammo, Petersen's Hunting, Sports Afield, Hot Rod, and more than two dozen other monthly magazines.
The personal firearms used by Mr. and Mrs. Petersen were donated, including favorite hunting arms, commemorative guns that were gifted during Mr. Peterson’s tenure as Commissioner of Shooting Sports for the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games and a variety of firearms he received from his close friends Robert Stack and William B. Ruger.
Ms. Carleton also presented Mr. LaPierre with a pair of Stevens Favorite .22 rifles that once belonged to the Petersen's two sons, Robert and Richard.
Shown above from left: NRAGeneral Operations Executive Director Kayne Robinson, NRA President David Keene, and Margie & Robert Petersen Foundation President GiGi Carleton.