Complete Guide to Springfield Armory National Historic Site in Massachusetts, including things to do, museum, history, hours, directions, and so much more.
Springfield Armory National Historic Site
Springfield Armory National Historic Site in Massachusetts was the nation's armory for over 174 years.
Starting in 1777 during the Revolutionary War when the armory was established. The armory was created to manufacture ammunition, repair, and store weapons, along with maintaining artillery.
About Springfield Armory National Historic Site
After the US won its independence in the Revolutionary War President George Washington ordered the Springfield Armory to manufacture flintlock muskets so the new nation wouldn't be dependent on anyone else.
For over 174 years the Springfield Armory was open until 1968. The armory developed and manufactured America's military weapons including many famous guns/weapons that can be seen at the Armory.
A few of the most famous arms that are on display at the Springfield Armory NHS include the muzzle-loading Springfield rifle of the Civil War, the bolt-action Springfield Model 1903 from WW1, and the Springfield M-1 Garand rifle of WW2.
The Springfield Armory houses the largest collection of American military shoulder arms in the world. The park preserves and interprets the world's largest historic US military small arms collection.
Springfield Armory NHS has an organ of guns...
The organ does not play music but is actually a rack of more than 645 guns. Poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow visited the Armory in 1843 and wrote a poem about the racks of guns called "The Arsenal at Springfield"
The park commemorates and reflects on the critical role of the nation's first armory.
Is Springfield Armory National Historic Site worth visiting?
The Springfield Armory National Historic Site may be a good place to visit if you are interested in learning about the history of the U.S. military or the history of technology and manufacturing.
It offers a unique opportunity to learn about the important role that the Springfield Armory played in the development of the United States and to see a range of historic artifacts and displays related to this history.
We really enjoyed our visit to the park and learning more about this part of US history.
History of Springfield Armory National Historic Site
The Springfield Armory National Historic Site preserves the site of America's first national armory, founded by General George Washington. Large-scale musket manufacturing began here in 1794.
The armory was one of the first weapons factories in America. Springfield Armoury supplied the United States Armed Forces with weapons for nearly two hundred years.
The weapons built at what is now the Springfield Armory National Historic Site have been used in every war the United States has fought.
The site contains the most extensive collection of American-made firearms dating from the 1700s until the 1960s.
Springfield Armory was one of the first cogs in the industrialized military complex that helped to shape America.
The way the armory employed and trained staff in small arms production during wartime and the transfer of those previously unskilled people into the private sector during peacetime has been credited with launching the second American Industrial Revolution.
The Weapons that Changed History
Springfield Armory was the home of innovation for 174 years. Springfield Armory was where the policy of standardizing the manufacture of weapons parts was developed. Mass production of arms first happened at Springfield Armory, with the production of Muskets.
From the American Revolution, the Springfield Armory continued to fill needs within the military. Springfield Armory pioneered the use of the production line and, later, hourly wages for the staff.
The armory was the primary manufacturer of weapons during the American Civil War (1861 to 1865). The Springfield National Armory is where the revolutionary M1 semi-automatic rifle was created in 1932 by an engineer called John Garand.
The M1 was not the only popular rifle developed by Springfield Armory engineers; the M14 was also designed there. The rifle, developed from the M1, was manufactured at Springfield from 1958 to 1964. The M14 was a standard piece of equipment for the U.S. military until the M16 took its place in 1964.
The Springfield Armory During the Civil War
When the American Civil War broke out in 1861, the Confederates destroyed the armory at Harpers Ferry. This briefly left Springfield Armory as the only weapons manufacturer.
By 1861, the engineers at Springfield Armory had revolutionized how weapons were made, making them easy to be uniformly mass produced. The ability of The Springfield Armory to produce weapons on a much larger scale than any of the Confederate armoires gave the Union an advantage.
When the war ended in 1865, the Confederates had produced 107,000 rifles. The Union, and in particular Springfield Armory, had built over 200,000.
After the Civil War, the armory became the home of a new department whose job was purely to research and develop new weaponry.
The Springfield Armory National Historic Site is home to the greatest collection of Confederate rifles worldwide.
The Springfield Armory during the World Wars
When America entered World War I in 1917, the U.S Military was unprepared. The Springfield Armory had produced standard Service Model 1903 rifles and M1911 rifles for the American soldiers. The M1917 Enfield rifle was designed and built at Springfield Armory to help the American soldiers fighting in Europe.
After the Great War, the developers at Springfield Armory set about developing modern weapons for modern wars. In 1919 John Garand joined the team of engineers at Springfield Armory with the idea of creating a semi-automatic weapon.
In 1932 Garand perfected his design with the M1 Garand rifle. The U.S military began using the weapon in 1936.
The M1 Garand rifle was an astonishing success for Springfield Armory. Some of America's most famed generals praised the weapon.
General Douglas MacArthur used the M1 in the World War II Battle of Bataan. General Patton Jr. was similarly impressed with the M1 and believed it to be the ‘greatest battle implement’ ever designed.
Women of Springfield Armory
When America entered World War II in 1941, men were suddenly removed from the workplace. All across America, women left the home to fill the positions while the men were fighting for freedom.
Men who had worked on the production line at the Springfield Armory suddenly had to join the military. How the armories production line was designed meant that the women who stepped in to take over could do so relatively smoothly.
Over 5,000 women, referred to as Women Ordnance Workers, worked at the Springfield Armory during World War II. The women played a pivotal role in manufacturing 4.5 million M1 Garand rifles.
The Springfield Armory continued to operate until 1968 when it was converted into the Springfield Armory National Historic Site. The site boasts the largest collections of American firearms in the world.
Things to know before your visit to Springfield Armory National Historic Site
$0.00 - There is no entrance fee to visit the park.
Planning a National Park vacation? America the Beautiful/National Park Pass covers entrance fees for an entire year to all US National Park Sites and over 2,000 Federal Recreation Fee Sites.
The park pass covers everyone in the car for per vehicle sites and for up to 4 adults for per-person sites.
Buy on REI.com and REI will donate 10% of pass proceeds to the National Forest Foundation, National Park Foundation and the U.S. Endowment for Forestry & Communities.
Learn more about National Park Passes for parks that have an entrance fee.
Free Entrance Days -Mark your calendars with the five free entrance days the National Park Service offers annually.
Eastern Time Zone
No pets are allowed in the Museum.
Pets must be leashed and attended to or otherwise physically restrained at all times. It is not allowed to bring pets to ranger-led activities.
Service dogs or sight-seeing dogs may accompany their owner to all park locations unless the area is closed to visitors.
We had great cell service while visiting the park.
The park is open from 9:30 AM to 4:00 PM every Wednesday to Sunday only. The park is closed during holidays except Veteran’s Day.
The park for New Year's Day, Thanksgiving Day, and Christmas Day.
There is no public Wi-Fi available.
Insect repellent is always a great idea when outdoors, especially if you are around any body of water.
We use Permethrin Spray on our clothes before our park trips.
Make sure to bring your own water bottle and plenty of water with you. Plastic water bottles are not sold in the park.
There is a parking lot located at the main entrance that is open to visitors free of charge.
There are no restaurants within the park.
There are no gas stations within the park.
Drones are not permitted within National Park Sites.
National Park Passport Stamps
National Park Passport stamps can be found in the visitor center.
Springfield Armory NHS is part of the 2007 Passport Stamp Set
Electric Vehicle Charging
There is one EV charging station in the site. There are 101 electric vehicle (EV) charging stations within a 10-mile radius of the center of Springfield, MA.
Details about Springfield Armory National Historic Site
Size - 55 acres
Check out how the park compares to other National Parks by Size.
October 26, 1974
In 2021, Springfield Armory NHS had 13,557 park visitors.
In 2020, Springfield Armory NHS had 1,032 park visitors.
In 2019, Springfield Armory NHS had 20,979 park visitors.
National Park Address
The Springfield Armory National Historic Site is located on the campus of Springfield Technical Community College
For GPS directions - 1 Armory St., Springfield, MA. 01105.
Latitude=42.1073 (42 degrees 6.4 minutes North)
Longitude=-72.5813 (72 degrees 34.9 minutes West)
The entrance to Armory Square is on Federal Street. Armory Square is shared by Springfield Armory NHS and Springfield Technical Community College (STCC)
Google Map Link
When you drive onto the community college campus be prepared for students to be everywhere! This is definitely a parking lot to drive slow in and be aware of all the people.
There are designated parking spots for the Armory right in front of the building.
Park phone number - (413) 734-8551
National Park Map
Where is Springfield Armory National Historic Site ?
Springfield Armory NHS is located in the southwestern part of Massachusetts about 90 miles west of Boston and just north of Connecticut, about twenty miles north of Hartford.
If you are wondering if there is a national park near me and live in Massachusetts this is a great option!
Estimated distance from major cities nearby
Boston, MA - 90 miles
Providence, RI - 75 miles
New York, NY - 140 miles
Jersey City, NJ - 145 miles
Newark, NJ - 150 miles
Philadelphia, PA - 240 miles
Estimated Distance from nearby National Park
Acadia National Park - 350 miles
Shenandoah National Park - 478 miles
New River Gorge National Park - 668 miles
Cuyahoga Valley National Park - 569 miles
Great Smoky Mountains National Park - 849 miles
Indiana Dunes National Park - 859 miles
Where is the National Park Visitor Center?
The Springfield Armory National Historic Site visitor center is situated inside the Main Arsenal Building.
Getting to Springfield Armory National Historic Site
Bradley International Airport - 20 miles
Boston Logan International Airport - 95 miles
Albany International Airport - 90 miles
Rhode Island T.F. Green International Airport - 80 miles
New York Stewart International Airport - 125 miles
Worcester Regional - 50 miles
Manchester-Boston Regional Airport - 100 miles
From Interstate 91
Heading North: Take EXIT 5A from I-91 Northbound, go to the 2nd traffic light and turn right onto State Street. Drive east ~.75 miles to the 5th traffic light (look for the long black cast-iron fence of the Armory on your left). Turn left onto Federal Street, drive about 100 yards, and enter through the Main Gate to your left into Armory Square. Turn left inside the gate and follow the signs to the Park at the opposite end of Armory Square.
Heading South: Take Exit 5B/Hall of Fame Ave from I-91 Southbound, go to the 2nd traffic light and turn left under the highway [Rt.91] onto State Street.
Drive east ~.8 miles to the 6th traffic light (look for the long black cast-iron fence of the Armory on your left). Turn left onto Federal Street, drive about 100 yards, and enter through the Main Gate to your left into Armory Square. Turn left inside the gate and follow the signs to the Park at the opposite end of Armory Square.
From I-90 Mass Turnpike
Take Exit 45 and follow directions from Points North (above). Take the exit going to 91 and not the one heading to 291 as this route is more direct.
Best time to visit
The best time to visit Springfield Armory National Historic Site is during the fall season because of the beautiful foliage and cooler temperatures.
During this season, the trees are ablaze with vibrant red, orange, and yellow leaves, making it the perfect time for a scenic walk through the grounds. The cooler temperatures also make it more comfortable to explore the outdoor exhibits.
Weather and Seasons
The hot season begins from May 29 to September 16, with an average daily high temperature above 74 degrees.
The cool season begins from December 1 to March 11, with an average daily high temperature below 44 degrees.
The coldest month is January, when the average low is 19 degrees and the average high is 34 degrees.
Best Things to do in Springfield Armory National Historic Site
We suggest planning a minimum of a couple of hours to explore the visitor center, watch the park film, and check out all of the display cases.
The visitor center is the heart of the armory. You can't really miss it unless you are there when the park is closed.
The visitor center has all of the displays of guns and information on the park.
The junior ranger program can be completed within the Springfield Armory. Depending on the age of the participants they may need adult help.
Many of the questions are based on specific gun cases and the guns that are found in them. I would suggest 45 minutes to 90 minutes to complete the program.
There is a page of word searches and a couple of other easier pages to be completed. When I turned my program in the ranger checked each answer and helped me know which guns I had switched by mistake in the booklet.
The Junior Ranger program is a great way to learn more about the work that was done at Springfield Armory.
Self-guided tours of the historic arms collection and industrial machinery
The museum at Springfield Armory NHS is in the main Arsenal Building from around 1848. The tour takes you through the production area and into a museum of gun cases.
The cases of guns show the evolution of guns from the early production to when the Springfield Armory shut down. It is a great way to see how guns evolved during the war and from heavy use.
It is hard to believe that the bulk of the collection is not on public display. Don't worry you will still be able to see an impressive portion of the world's largest collection including military firearms, machine guns, and superior firearms.
Watch the 20-minute documentary about the Armory
The 20-minute documentary is a great way to learn about the history of the Armory. I found it fascinating and learned a lot about the work that was done at the armory and how it came to be.
Always carry the 10 essentials for outdoor survival when exploring.
There are no specified hiking trails in the park. Visitors can take a self-guided walking tour of the buildings and grounds.
There are wayside signs and interpretive panels talking about the Armory when it was producing firearms.
How to beat the crowds
We did not experience any crowds while visiting the park.
Where to stay/Lodging
There are no National Park Lodges within the park.
Lodging can be found in the city of Springfield, MA.
Nearby Lodging includes:
Holiday Inn Express Springfield Downtown - Take advantage of free to-go breakfast, dry cleaning/laundry services, and a gym at Holiday Inn Express Springfield Downtown, an IHG Hotel. In addition to a 24-hour business center and a snack bar/deli, guests can connect to free in-room Wi-Fi.
Sheraton Springfield Monarch Place Hotel - A terrace, dry cleaning/laundry services, and a bar are just a few of the amenities provided at Sheraton Springfield Monarch Place Hotel. Treat yourself to a massage or other spa services. Enjoy American cuisine and more at the two onsite restaurants. In addition to a gym and a 24-hour business center, guests can connect to free in-room Wi-Fi.
MGM Springfield - At MGM Springfield, you can look forward to a bowling alley, and a coffee shop/café. Be sure to enjoy a meal at any of the 8 onsite restaurants, which feature American cuisine and more. Stay connected with in-room Wi-Fi, and guests can find other amenities such as dry cleaning/laundry services and 3 bars.
La Quinta Inn & Suites - You can look forward to a free breakfast buffet, an arcade/game room, and laundry facilities at La Quinta Inn & Suites by Wyndham Springfield MA. In addition to a gym and a 24-hour business center, guests can connect to free in-room Wi-Fi.
Click on the map below to see additional vacation rentals and lodging near the park.
There are no campgrounds within the park.
For a fun adventure check out Escape Campervans. These campervans have built in beds, kitchen area with refrigerators, and more. You can have them fully set up with kitchen supplies, bedding, and other fun extras. They are painted with epic designs you can't miss!
Escape Campervans has offices in Vancouver, Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Salt Lake City, Denver, Chicago, New York, and Orlando
Parks Near Springfield Armory National Historic Site
Martin Van Buren National Historic Site (New York) - 82 miles
John F Kennedy National Historic Site - 87 miles
Lowell National Historical Park - 90 miles
Weir Farm National Historical Park - 90 miles
Boston National Historical Park - 90 miles
Adams National Historical Park - 95 miles
Saratoga National Historical Park - 105 miles
Vanderbilt Mansion National Historic Site (New York) - 120 miles
Home of Franklin D Roosevelt National Historic Site (New York) - 121 miles
Eleanor Roosevelt National Historic Site (New York) - 121 miles
Check out all of the great Massachusetts National Parks along with neighboring Rhode Island National Parks, Connecticut National Parks, New York National Parks, Vermont National Parks, and National Parks in New Hampshire.
Make sure to check out all the fun you can have in Nantucket.
Check out all of the US National Historic Sites managed by the NPS