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Pennsylvania Landis Valley Museum to Present Lancaster Long Rifle Exhibit


HARRISBURG, Pa., Feb. 28, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A new exhibit featuring historic long rifles will open March 11 at Landis Valley Village and Farm Museum in Lancaster County.

"The Golden Age of an American Art Form: The Lancaster Long Rifle" exhibit will feature more 50 long rifles drawn from the museum's collection, other museums and private collections, some of which are being shown for the first time. The exhibit, which runs through December, is made possible by a grant from the Richard C. von Hess Foundation.

Made by such revered gunsmiths as Jacob Dickert, Melchior Fordney, J.P. Beck, Andreas Albrecht and Martin Mylin, among others, the rifles show a level of craftsmanship and detail that bring the firearms into the realm of art.

"Lancaster County gunsmiths were craftsmen who excelled at producing exquisite, hand-made pieces incorporating highly refined artistic carving, engraving and inlaying while at the same time satisfying the need for accurate hunting weapons," said James Lewars, museum site director.

The long rifle form evolved from German-made wheel lock and flintlock "Jaeger guns," several of which will be on display. The resulting long, slender weapon, also known as the "Kentucky Rifle," subsequently became an iconic national symbol, one that is closely associated with the taming of the frontier.

Made in Lancaster County from the 1770s to the 1840s—a period known as the "Golden Age" of rifle making—the rifles will share space with pistols, powder horns, game bags, gunsmithing tools and contemporary images of the long rifle form. Lancaster gunsmiths also produced distinctive smooth-bore "Fowlers," which will also be included in the exhibit.

The Landis Valley Village and Farm museum is a nationally significant living history village dedicated to collecting, preserving, and interpreting the history and culture of the Pennsylvania German community from 1740 to 1940. It is administered by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission in partnership with the Landis Valley Associates. The museum is located off Route 272/Oregon Pike, a marked exit off both Route 30 and Route 222.

For more information on the museum, visit

Media contact: Howard Pollman, 717-705-8639

SOURCE Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission

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