- Robert E. Petersen Collection
- Ancient Firearms - 1350 to 1700
- Road to American Liberty - 1700 to 1780
- A Prospering New Republic - 1780 to 1860
- The American West - 1850 to 1900
- Innovation, Oddities and Competition
- Theodore Roosevelt and Elegant Arms - 1880s to 1920s
- World War I and Firearms Innovation
- WWII, Korea, Vietnam and Beyond - 1940 to Present
- For the Fun of It
- Modern Firearms - 1950 to Present
- Hollywood Guns
- A Nation Asunder - 1861 to 1865
Mayflower Wheellock Carbine
Attributed to ownership by John Alden, one of the Pilgrim leaders of Plymouth Colony. Alden, who embarked on the Mayflower as a 20-year-old cooper, joined Captain Miles Standish's Militia to defend the settlers from outside attacks.
This single shot arm was originally a .50 caliber rifle, but extensive usage has removed almost all traces of rifling. Discovered during the restoration of Alden's home in Duxbury, Massachusetts in 1924, this piece is typical of many arms possessed by the early New England settlers. Alden's home was occupied by members of his family from 1653 through 1896. This home survived nearly 350 years without being ravaged by fire, a common fate of early American residences.