Updated July 24, 2005
Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna Austria. A large and very important collection of famous armours including the gothic harness for Duke Siegmund of Tyrol from 1484. The museum houses other very important art collections as well. The museum has its own website here: http://www.khm.at/homeE/homeE.html and following the links to the arms and armor collections here: http://www.khm.at/staticE/page145.html a small number of armour photographs and historical data can be found.
The Tower of London www.toweroflondontour.com/ in London, England. The Tower is a Medieval castle with its earliest construction dating back to the days of William the Conqueror (11th century). The White Tower in the center of the castle is the original Keep started by William The Conqueror, and houses one of the greatest Medieval Arms & Armour collections in the world. The Tower has created a huge web site to introduce visitors to the history and sites of this landmark. Follow the links above or click here http://www.toweroflondontour.com/mapsearch.html to go straight to their site map for a map of the castle and their links page. The Arms & Armour collection at the Tower contains examples of armour whose manufacture spans the entire history of the castle since it was built. The Tower is open year round.
The Royal Armouries at the Tower of London has its own website here: http://www.armouries.org.uk/. The website includes more photos of the armours displayed at the Tower of London as well as histories of the collections and visitor information for the collections at the Tower, Leeds Museum, and the Fort Nelson museum.
Landeszeughaus (State Armory of Styria) in Graz, Austria, offers one of the largest collections of 16th and 17th century armour in the world. The Landeszeughaus finally has their own website. For more information and visiting hours at the armory go here. http://www.zeughaus.at/ The armour is mostly of the munitions grade (for arming the peasantry) but all armours can be viewed openly close up. The museum staff is the friendliest in the world. This should be your first stop when studying armour because the armours here can be viewed close up and from inside well enough to gain a thorough understanding of how they are put together. The Landeszeughaus is open year round.
There are now a large number of websites offering a look at the Zeughaus. Here are some other links showing some of the armours at the Landeszeughaus: http://www.cosmopolis.ch/cosmo51/landeszeughaus_graz.htm ,http://www.museum-joanneum.steiermark.at/cms/ziel/2995140/DE/
When researching this armoury on the internet, this author suggests using keywords Landeszeughaus Styria, Landesmuseum Joanneum, Graz Zeughaus
Higgins Armory in Worcester, MA. One of the largest medieval armour exhibits in the U.S. located in Worcester Massachusetts. Some pictures of their armour at this website. Higgins armory is about a half hours drive from Sturbridge MA for those of you planning a visit to those areas. Later I will offer a web page showing off some of the armour exhibited in the museum. The web site seems to have missing navigation bars, but run your mouse pointer down the left side of their web page and links can be found by watching the cursor and link information displayed on your web browser as the cursor hovers over hot spots.
The New York Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, NY. This website has pictures of armour. A large collection of Medieval and Japanese Arms and Armour. A very notable collection of complete suits of European armors for man and horse as well as thousands of pieces of armour dating from 400 B.C. until the 19th century. See their web site at http://www.metmuseum.org/collections/index.asp and click through the links to the Arms and Armor collection.
Rüstkammer at the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen, in Dresden, Germany. Only a few small pictures of the armours in their collection. This collection was closed during the reconstruction effort when a I visited in 1991 so I wasn't able to get any photos here. The State Museum of Art in Dresden has a very important collection of arms and armour. The museum has a webpage in German and there is a link to an English language page. http://www.skd-dresden.de/de/.html . Follow the German language links in the navigation bar to - Rüstkammer- to go to the armory page.
Germanisches National Museum in Nürnburg (Nuremburg) Germany. A few pictures of their large medieval and renaissance armour collection. The Germanisches Museum has its own website at http://www.gnm.de/indexE.htm The museum hosts a large collection of medieval artifacts including clothing, metalwork, locks and lockwork, arms and armour, jousting sleighs, and art. Using their site map in German, use Waffen as your keyword or link to follow. The armour page is located at http://www.gnm.de/Sammlungen/Sammlung_Waffen.htm and there are some armour photos thumbnailed under their highlights page at http://www.gnm.de/Sammlungen/Sammlung_Waffen_H.htm Located inside the medieval walls of the old city, the museum is open year round. Some of the armour is in glass cases but some is displayed in the open though displayed 6 feet behind a barrier. A group of Maximillian jousting armours and some gothic jousting armours meets the visitor on entrance to the arms room. Armours from the dark ages to 17th century. Most of the armours are from the gothic, renaissance, and late periods. This museum is a must visit for all armour enthusiasts who visit Germany.
New and really cool! There are other important sites for smiths and medievalists throughout the medieval city. See the tourism website for more info at http://www.nuernberg.de/english/tourismus/tourismus.html. This website has a new updated virtual tour which shows off some of the most beautiful sites one could imagine in the medieval city. Sites such as St. Lorenzkirche, the Beautiful Fountain, the Christ's Child Market in November in front of the Frauenkirche and Beautiful Fountain in the center of the medieval city, the Castle Kaiserburg on the hill overlooking the city, and the craftsman's courtyard under Königstor (Kings' Gate tower?). Also see the Christkindlesmarkt website for more specific info about the Christmas Market at http://www.christkindlesmarkt.de/index_e.html.
Museo Stibbert, Florence (Firenze) Italy. Large collection of excellent armours. See there website at http://www.vps.it/propart/stibbert.htm for more information as well as some photos of their collection.
The Walters Art Gallery in Baltimore MD. No pictures of armour at this website. Note that this link used to be to the Baltimore Museum of Art. That old link was incorrect. The Walters Art Gallery hosts the collection of medieval armour. There are no armour pictures on their web site. They don't even describe their armour collection even though it is worthy of a days visit. So I will describe my impressions of their collections here. Their Arms and Armour collection is very small. Yet they have about a half dozen excellent and complete suits of medieval and later armours for man. Cameras are allowed. See their web site at http://www.thewalters.org/ for visiting info. A Statement of purpose for the Walters Art Gallery does make mention of the armour collection at http://www.artcom.com/museums/vs/sz/21201-51.htm
Philadelphia Museum of Art. http://www.philamuseum.org/ No pictures of armour at this website. The Philadelphia Museum of Art has a large and important collection of medieval arms and armour. As far as I can find, none of the armour is shown on their website, but there is mention of the collection at http://www.philamuseum.org/information/history/pg06.shtml which details the history of how the armour collection was first acquired in the early 1970s. When searching for information on the arms and armour collection at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, use "Kienbusch" as the keyword.
Canadian Museum of Civilization. Index page links to pages Imperial Austria which have a few pictures of the armours and weapons from the Landeszeughaus in Graz Austria along with some history of armour and its importance to 17th century Austria. The index page is found here: http://www.civilization.ca/ and by following the links to Military History we can find links to their pages on armour and weapons from Imperial Austria and the Landeszeughaus which was once the armoury for the State of Styria in Austria at http://www.civilization.ca/milhist/milhiste.asp. Link updated October 30th, 2001.
Castle Hunting Links:
Timber Framed Houses. Construction and history of medieval timber framed buildings in England.
Renaissance Faires. http://www.renaissance-faire.com/ This web site links things of interest to medieval and renaissance enthusiasts. To find Renaissance fairs near you, click on the Locations icon and then the state icon you are interested in, on the next page.
Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA). http://www.sca.org/ The Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA) is an international organization dedicated to researching and recreating pre-17th-century European history. This is the main organization. To locate a group nearest you see their link- Locating an SCA group near you link at http://www.sca.org/findsca.html, or use the SCA Geography page at http://www.sca.org/geography/ to locate a nearby group.