Last weekend, I visited my friend Christine and her boyfriend in Worcester, MA. They showed us the Worcester Higgins Armory Museum which was pretty awesome. It included medieval armor, 18th century guns, and even Turkish and Japanese armor.
We also stayed overnight and watched hours and hours of Pawn Stars from the History Channel. It's so addictive! It's about this family owned pawn shop in Las Vegas, and their customers bring them amazing objects. The show is the more down-to-earth, hilarious, kind-of-naughty version of Antiques Roadshow. You also see the family members negotiate and bargain with customers, and even restore things for resale--which appeals to me because I love collecting American Girl and finding top notch bargains. The main narrator is Rick Harrison (the bald fellow) and wow, I want to be his friend! I love the glee on his face when he talks about history.
Some of things they've found are amazing--such as buttons commemorating George Washington's inauguration, Edison phonographs (I've never seen a wax record played until I saw this show), and an East India merchantmen's bell. I never thought I could learn so much from a bunch of big, foul-mouthed dudes. I'm generally not a gun fan, but sometimes they come across blunderbusses, Winchesters, and cannons and they bring in an expert to fire them off. The coolest one I've seen so far was when they fired off a signal cannon that looked like a pewter mug. Signal cannons were literally pint-sized cannons that sailors filled with gunpowder and fired off when they were nearing port, to signal that they needed their ship inspected for diseases and piloted into harbor.
Here are some clips. You can see the show on Netflix streaming. A word of warning though--they swear a lot.