28. Pennsylvania Longrifle Museum, Nazareth, PA ±100 guns, ±80 on display (80%). Established in 1912

Pennsylvania Longrifle Museum Exterior
Pennsylvania Longrifle Museum Case


No guide to America’s gun collections would be complete without inclusion of a museum dedicated to the Pennsylvania longrifle, which figured so large in America’s fur trade and military exploits of the early nineteenth century. In most Pennsylvanian museums, both large in small, there is sure to be a case or two of longrifles. The Pennsylvania Longrifle Museum stands out, as it is the site of one of the key manufacturing locations of the five-generation Henry dynasty of gun makers, who built 100,000 rifles over one hundred years. This family of gun makers is not to be confused with New Hampshire native Benjamin Tyler Henry who developed the lever action 1866 Henry rifle.

Situated in a bucolic landscape, The Pennsylvania Longrifle Museum is located in the historic Joseph Henry 1832 Homestead that opened to the public in 2006. Almost all of the hundred guns in the collection were handmade by successive generations of the Henry family, starting with Abraham Henry (1768-1807). It is a unique collection, in that it focuses on guns made by one extended family. The museum exhibits longrifles, accoutrements and the tools used in the context of their construction.

Henry rifles in .45 cal. were sold to the American Fur Company and large military contracts for .70 cal. muskets were obtained for the War of 1812. Henry longrifles were still being used by sharpshooters in the American Civil War, although no contracts were secured. The company went into slow decline with the advent of mass-production guns made with machine tools in large factories, and he last hand-crafted Henry longrifle was sold in 1912.

Jacobsburg Historical Society