Although the NRA National Sporting Arms Museum at Bass Pro Shops in Springfield, Missouri's doors have only been open for a little over three years, they welcomed their one millionth visitor on December 28, 2016. Museum visitor Tray Carter turned the Museum's odometer over to a one and six zeroes, followed immediately by his wife Tracie and their sons Preston and Sam. Although the event may have come as a surprise to the Carter family, it wasn't to Museum staff: This informative (and free!) family destination has been a huge draw to parents and kids from all over, so it's only to be expected that it was a family that brought the Museum's visitor count to seven digits.
The NRA National Sporting Arms Museum is the brainchild of a collaboration between NRA and Bass Pro Shops, highlighting and celebrating the history of sporting arms in America. Featuring upwards of a thousand historically significant firearms from the earliest part of America's history to the present day, the Museum's collections include guns and original artwork from the Remington Arms Company factory collection, the collection of the Amateur Trapshooting Association Trapshooting Hall of Fame, the Pachmayr Foundation collection of fine custom arms, a comprehensive collection of 120 U.S. military pistols from 1797 through 1900, a multi-million dollar collection of engraved Colt revolvers of the Old West, historical dioramas and so much more.
The Museum and Bass Pro Shops staff showered the lucky Carter family with a number of treats prepared for the historic occasion, including limited-edition coins minted for the occasion, a leather-bound edition of Treasures of the NRA National Firearms Museum signed by author and NRA Museums Director Jim Supica and co-authors, a Bass Pro Shops gift certificate, a personal guided tour of the Museum courtesy of Museum Manager Stoney Roberts and a VIP tour of the flagship Bass Pro Shops in which the Museum is located, courtesy of Pete Duchrow, the store’s Manager of Operations.
The Carters, who called the experience "something they'd never forget," had traveled all the way from West Memphis, Arkansas to join the joyous crowds that swell the Museum's visitor log during the holidays. They're no exception to the rule, says Roberts. “Visitors come from all corners of America and from all over the world,” he emphasizes. “We have a local travel agency that arranges museum tours for visitors from mainland China, and we regularly see guest book entries from France, the United Kingdom, Australia, Austria and most other countries where people are free to travel.“
With around 274,000 visitors annually, it's quite likely that the Museum will be welcoming its second millionth visitor soon! Would you like to visit? The NRA National Sporting Arms Museum at Bass Pro Shops is handicap-accessible and open daily year-round from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., with Christmas Day the only closure of the year. You can schedule a tour by calling the museum at (471) 891-5346.