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Q&A 32: Curatorial Adventures with Ashley Hlebinsky

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The Cody Firearms Museum recently held its third annual Arsenals of History symposium, gathering professionals from firearms museums across the world to discuss issues specifically related to this particular speciality within the museum world. This year the symposium had a particular focus on social media, and so a number of folks like me were also invited. After the symposia concluded, I sat down with Ashley Hlebinsky, curator of the Cody Firearms Museum to discuss a variety of questions raised by my Patrons…

02:06 – How does one become a firearms museum curator, and how awesome is it to be one?
05:26 – How do you maintain guns in the collection, especially ones on display?
08:22 – Best ways to support gun museums
10:19 – Cotton or nitrile gloves?
14:09 – Direction and future of museum industry
16:14 – Experiences of a female curator?
20:04 – Shooting vs preservation
25:28 – Displaying replica items?
26:12 – What evolutionary process is best represented at Cody?
28:15 – Interaction between firearms museums?
30:01 – Most challenging aspects of managing a large collection?
32:57 – Archival documents
35:48 – How does Cody maintain inventory control and not lose items?
37:57 – Legal complications for firearms museums
40:01 – Scholarly firearms research in a hostile academic environment
44:13 – What old firearms concepts does Ashley want to come back?
45:30 – Private vs collection, and how does Ashley spend her time?
47:10 – What changes have been made to the Cody Firearms Museum?
51:50 – Cultural attitudes towards guns, Cody vs Smithsonian
55:07 – Has Cody turned down a gun donation, and why?

The Cody museum has just recently reopened after a complete renovation. They have even more guns on display now than before, and the layout of the museum has been improved. I would rate it the best firearms-specific museum in the United States, and I highly recommend visiting if you have to opportunity!

Forgotten Weapons
PO Box 87647
Tucson, AZ 85754

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