John & Isabelle Murphy Confederate Longarms Collection


Tarpley rifle

This collection contains more than 200 items, including 150 long arms – rifles, carbines, muskets, shotguns – from nearly every major Confederate armory. Murphy systematically acquired only the finest examples – each weapon in pristine condition and intact with its original parts. He also methodically collected multiple weapons made at the same armory over the course of the Civil War. This approach to collecting allowed Murphy to compare and analyze both important innovations and minor changes or modifications in gun manufacturing introduced in the South. This is one of the reasons it is such a significant research collection for scholars.

Twenty-three long arms chosen for their unique stories and technological significance are on display in a gallery on the main floor of the Museum. Additional locally manufactured long arms can be seen in Voices of a City. The Murphy Collection is available for online study in our collections database.

In addition to long arms, the Murphy Collection includes bayonets, lock plates, wooden shipping crates, cartridges and several works of art. These pieces by 19th and 20th century artists William Gilbert Gaul, Charles Hoffbauer, Don Troiani and Alfred Waud depict Civil War battles and other aspects of the war.