Kent Memorial Library hosts ‘A Knight’s Tale’ demonstration

By Lisa Stone - ReminderNews
Suffield - posted Wed., Jun. 26, 2013
Olivia helps Neal Bourbeau by modeling a chain mail with a 10-pound helmet. Photos by Lisa Stone.
Olivia helps Neal Bourbeau by modeling a chain mail with a 10-pound helmet. Photos by Lisa Stone.

Neal Bourbeau, of Higgins Armory in Worcester, Mass., presented “A Knight’s Tale” at Kent Memorial Library on June 20. Bourbeau demonstrated many museum pieces of medieval armor that ranged from a full suit of armor to several types of weapons that were used until the 1700s.

Special cloth gloves were used to handle the museum pieces. Bourbeau explained, “The acids and fats from our skin will create rust on the armor. Gloves must always be worn to preserve the integrity of the pieces.” Bourbeau involved the audience by allowing the children to model the armor to the rest of the crowd.

Olivia assisted with the demonstration of a hood and shoulder garment made of chainmail. Chainmail is a metal fabric made of small circular pieces of metal that provided protection to a knight during battle. After displaying a helmet with a nose protector, Olivia also donned a 10-pound full metal helmet.

The strength of chainmail was demonstrated by Braeden. Bourbeau had Braeden put gloves on and then hold the chainmail by supporting it with his hands. Bourbeau took an ancient sword and dragged it across Braeden’s hands. When he was finished with the demonstration, Bourbeau asked Braeden, “Did I cut you at all?” He answered, “No. All I felt was some pressure.”

One demonstration by Bourbeau illustrated the formation of knights that were about to engage in battle. Each young helper held a battle ax in the position that would be expected of knights when going into battle.

The audience applauded Bourbeau and had many questions for him. One guest asked, “Did you say that the museum was moving the armory artifacts?” Bourbeau answered, “Yes. We are moving to The Worcester Art Museum. The building no longer makes financial sense. The building needs work and we don’t have nearly enough space for patrons to view all that we have. The museum stores far too many pieces in the basement and the people should see those pieces, so we are moving to where there is more space for our displays.”

This was one of many events that the Kent Memorial Library is hosting over the summer. Check with the library for upcoming events for all family members.

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