One of the most popular exhibits at the Museum is the "Weapons of War" display which features muskets, rifles, revolvers, and pistols dating from the mid 1700s to the dawn of the 20th century. It is, in effect, a history of firearms captured in a time period where some of the most significant weapon advancements took place. For example, the flintlock firing mechanism revolutionized warfare as the literal culmination of all firing systems that preceded it. Yet the percussion cap device that followed rendered the flintlock obsolete and provided the soldier an all-weather firing system he could trust.
Nothing compared, however, to the invention of the self-contained metallic cartridge. No longer would a soldier have to ram a projectile down his gun's barrel. Instead, the cartridge (or "round") could be loaded from the breech and this meant two things: (1) faster shooting; and (2) the rifle – not the smoothbore musket – was the new king. Guns were now more deadly and accurate than ever, and the Weapons of War display details this evolution with a variety of completely unique firearms, each representing its own place in this time of great innovation.