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Exhibition showcases an extraordinary collection of more than 100 European arms and armor
Breastplate © Archivio Fotografico Museo Stibbert.

SANTA ANA, CA.- The Bowers Museum is presenting the west coast premiere of Knights in Armor from the Museum Stibbert of Florence, Italy, on view September 22, 2018-January 13, 2019. The exhibition showcases an extraordinary collection of more than 100 European arms and armor, including 2 horses in full guard, and an array of weapons and swords forged over the course of centuries, well-known to scholars, specialists and collectors around the world.

Knights in Armor offers visitors the opportunity to learn about the complex system of knighthood as well as the customs, arms and armor of tournaments and jousting. Additionally, the Bowers offers unique interactive activities including a sword-in-the-stone photo station and the “Knight’s Quest” scavenger hunt, culminating with more hands-on experiences at the Bowers’ Kidseum in the exhibition Kings, Queens, and Castles.

The exhibition was organized by Contemporanea Progetti in collaboration with the Museo Stibbert, Florence, Italy and makes its west coast premiere at the Bowers after traveling to venues including the Houston Museum of Natural Science and the Canadian War Museum. An accompanying exhibition catalogue entitled Knights in Shining Armor is on sale in the Bowers Museum Gallery Store.

Frederick Stibbert was an Anglo-Italian collector born in Florence, Italy in 1838. An inheritance from his grandfather, who was Commander-in-Chief of the British East India Company’s private army, allowed him to pursue his passion for art, armor, weaponry, the restoration of artifacts, and the organization of medieval and Renaissance re-enactments. Stibbert ultimately transformed his hillside villa and park into the Museo Stibbert. Its collection of nearly 50,000 items — with special emphasis on European, Islamic and Japanese arms and armor from the 15th to 19th centuries — also includes paintings, ceramics, costumes, tapestries, furniture and other decorative arts, as well as archaeological items, musical instruments and liturgical objects. When he died in 1906, Stibbert left the museum to the Municipality of Florence, to improve public knowledge of history for the benefit of future generations.

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