Want a jaw-droppin' museum experience? Visit the C. Burton Saunders Memorial Museum on Madison Street in Berryville. This Saunders guy was a super-rich world traveler, comptetive marksman, big game hunter, collector of firearms and rare artifacts and general hobber-of-nob with the rich, powerful and famous of turn-of-the-century society. In his will, he set aside a huge pile of cash to build this museum to display his and his wife's enormous collection of neat stuff.

And very neat it is, too. One case contains memorabilia he personally scavenged in the Holy Land, flowers from Gethsemane, water from the Jordan, etc. In the bottom of the case pictured above at right are Pancho Villa's spurs. Below that is pictured the vest worn by Sitting Bull at the battle of the Little Big Horn.

The most amazing exhibit is the collection of handguns, almost four hundred in all. If you are a gun enthusiast, there are two collections in Arkansas you have to visit -- The Saunders Museum in Berryville and the gun museum in Old Washington. Along with service and presentation models of the most popular and famous guns ever manufactured, Saunders collected the odd-ball, peculiar and rare as well as several weapons either owned or used by persons both famous and infamous.

A few examples: At right is a Le Mat, a pistol of French manufacture much favored by confederate cavalrymen, but rare today. It was a standard six-shooter with a 0.410 surprise slung under the barrel. At left is a twenty-shot, 0.30 cal., double-barreled revolver. Personally, I couldn't manage to work out the mechanics of the thing even though I puzzled at it for a long time. Back at right again is the world's smallest automatic pistol, a Belgian midget that you load up with 2.615mm rimless cartridges. Compare the pistol to the trigger guard and grip of a more standard-sized revolver in the same photo. My own interest in handguns is pretty casual, but I was amazed at the number of clever solutions that engineers and machinists have employed in response to the engineering and ergonomic challenges of the gun.


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