Knights! reveals the fascinating place of arms and armor in the broader context of history, storytelling, and art. Only three months after the closing of Worcester's Higgins Armory Museum, this exhibition marks the first step in the long-term integration of arms and armor into the collection of the Worcester Art Museum. This process ensures that a treasure of national importance remains in Worcester and continues to delight future generations of museumgoers from within the city and across the region. “Integrating the Higgins collection allows us to build on our creative programming and community engagement and is an incredible opportunity to develop a new approach to presenting these beautiful works of art," said WAM Director Matthias Waschek.
By showcasing arms and armor in the context of its encyclopedic collections, the Museum creates a new framework for exploring this material. Breaking from the traditional forms of installation, Knights! encourages visitors to appreciate armor for its aesthetic and social purposes, as much as its martial one. The pieces included in Knights! are largely from Medieval and Renaissance Europe, with additional cultures and periods represented as well. The exhibition's five separate sections—Courtly Pursuits, The Dance of Love and War, Knights of the Round Table, Triumphal Arch, and The Corridor of Good + Evil—illustrate in detail the historical context in which these works were made and used.
Within the final room of the exhibition, viewers can compare and contrast wars of the past with those of the present, drawing on information about real-time conflicts as seen through the lens of photojournalism. In Veiled Aleppo, Milan-based photojournalist Franco Pagetti documents the transformation of this ancient city's streetscapes as a result of the ongoing Syrian civil war.