National Firearms Museum

Led by senior curators Phil Schreier and Doug Wicklund, this 30-minute video walks you through all 15 galleries of the National Firearms Museum. As you move from 1350 to present-day, you’ll enjoy informative and interesting stories, as well as have the opportunity to view some of the museum’s finest firearms.


Combat photographer’s take on 1968 conventions

With the Republican National Convention starting today, I found this to be of

interest. Forty-four years ago photojournalist David Douglas Duncan covered the

1968 Republican and Democratic national conventions and some of his photos can

be found here: Combat photographer’s take on 1968 conventions

World’s Oldest Person, Besse Cooper, Turns 116

Just think of all the historical events she’s witnessed!

It’s difficult enough to fit 16 candles on a birthday cake, but trying squeezing 116 on one.

But Besse Cooper, the world’s oldest person according to the Guinness World Records, chose to use numbers instead of actual candles when she celebrated her 116th birthday Sunday. Guinness claims Cooper is one of only eight people who have reached 116.

In honor of Cooper’s achievement, a bridge was named after her in Monroe, Ga., where she lives by the Walton County Board of Commissioners,  according to the Walton Tribune.  A ribbon cutting ceremony was held Friday, Aug. 24 for the bridge opening.

“The older she has gotten the more wittier she has gotten,” her son, Sidney Cooper, told the Walton Tribune. He also relayed a message from Cooper, who was unable to attend the ceremony, who said, “I’m glad I gave them a reason to name it.”

Cooper was certified as the world’s oldest person by Guinness World Records in January 2011, although she briefly had to give up her title when it was discovered that Brazilian-born Maria Gomes Valentin was 48 days older. But when Valentin died six months later, Cooper was reinstated as the world’s oldest person.

Cooper was born in Sullivan, Tenn., in 1896, according to the Walton Tribune. She moved to Monroe during World War I to become a teacher. In 1924, she married her husband Luther and the couple had four children. Today, Cooper has 12 grandchildren and many great-grandchildren and great-great grandchildren, according to the Guinness World Records.

Cooper has a secret to achieving 116 years of life.

“I mind my own business,” she told the Guinness World Records. “And I don’t eat junk food.”

World’s Oldest Person, Besse Cooper, Turns 116


10 American historic sites you’ve never heard of. . .

Everyone knows about the Statue  of Liberty and Alcatraz, but there are many off-the-beaten-track historic  sites that come with advantages like fewer tourists and shorter lines.

From coast to coast, here are 10 U.S. sites that you might want to add to  your list:

Angel Island Immigration Station

The Pacific Coast’s less-welcoming version of Ellis Island opened in 1910.  Unlike the East Coast immigrants, who were greeted by the Statue of Liberty, the  immigrants traveling to Angel Island were isolated and detained on Angel Island.  Once on the island, immigrants were subjected to rigorous interrogation.  According to the California Department of Parks and Recreation,  the Chinese made up more than 97 percent of the immigrants processed on Angel  Island. Its administration building caught on fire in 1940, ending the island’s  use.

Booker  T. Washington National Monument

Some consider Washington to be the most influential black educator from 1895  until his death in 1915. He was born a slave on this Hardy, Va., farm, which now  paints a picture of farm life before the Civil War. The monument celebrates  Washington’s life and legacy, which includes founding the Tuskegee Normal and  Industrial Institute, now known as Tuskegee University.

Brandy Station

The Battle of Brandy Station in Virginia was the largest cavalry battle ever  fought in North America. As the first battle of the Gettysburg campaign, it took  place on June 9, 1863. Also check out The Graffiti House, which got its name  thanks to the Civil War signatures, inscriptions and messages on the walls of  the second floor. It’s also located in Brandy Station, Va., and serves as a  visitor center.

The Greenbrier

The Greenbrier, which is located in White Sulphur Springs, W. Va., has roots  that go back to 1778. After serving as a hospital during the Civil War and World  War II, the U.S. government approached the Greenbrier regarding a bomb  shelter for Congress during times of emergency. An underground bunker was built  in conjunction with the above-ground West Virginia Wing of the hotel. Codenamed  Project Greek Island, the facility was prepared to transform into a component of  national defense for 30 years. The bunker was decommissioned in 1992 after the  end of the Cold War and the press publicized its location. Today, the Greenbrier  is a luxury resort and casino, but you can also take a 90-minute tour of the  bunker.

Louisiana Purchase State Park

Actually located in Brinkley, Ark., Louisiana Purchase State Park marks the  initial point for all surveys of the Louisiana Purchase, an 1803 deal that more  than doubled the size of the United States. Today, a 950-foot boardwalk winds  through the swamp for scenic strolls.

Monocacy Aqueduct

The Monocacy Aqueduct is the largest aqueduct along the Chesapeake and Ohio  Canal, which is the most intact canal out of the 36 major canals built between  1806 and 1850. The seven-arch aqueduct withstood a deliberate confederate attack  and Hurricane Agnes. The aqueduct is part of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal  National Historic Park.

Montezuma  Castle National Monument

Early settlers saw this five-story site, which is located in the Verde Valley  of Arizona, and mistakenly associated it with the famous Aztec ruler, but the  Sinaqua people built Montezuma’s Castle and then abandoned it to move northeast.  In 1906, Montezuma’s Castle was named one of the first national monuments by  President Theodore  Roosevelt.

Palo  Alto Battlefield  The Battle of Palo Alto occurred on May 8, 1846, and was the first in a two-year  conflict between the United States and Mexico.  The Mexican-American War ended with the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, which  finalized the purchase of California and New Mexico. The battlefield is located  north of Brownsville, Texas, and features trails and an overlook.

Slater  Mill  Slater Mill, which is located in Pawtucket, R.I., is often called the birthplace  of the American Industrial Revolution. Samuel Slater, an English immigrant,  built North America’s first successful water-powered cotton spinning mill here  in the 1790s. Today, Slater Mill is a museum complex that offers tours, costumed  interpreters and is home to the Community Guild Studios, a fine craft and  textiles center.

Henry Ford Museum  The Henry Ford Museum is a treasure-trove of historic machinery and artifacts.  You can see the limousine President John F. Kennedy was riding in when he was  assassinated and the bus where Rosa  Parks refused to give up her seat. The Dearborn, Mich., indoor-outdoor  museum began with Henry Ford’s personal collection, and is home to the chair  President Abraham Lincoln was sitting in when he was assassinated.