Thursday, 26 September 2013

Lord of the Rings fans head to the Higgins Armory in Worcester for Middle-earth day

This weekend, local Lord of the Rings fans have reason to be excited beyond the upcoming release of "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug:" Middle-earth day at the Higgins Armory in Worcester.

On Saturday Sept. 28th, "the Great Hall will be the site of the last stand of men and elves at Higgins on our final Middle-earth Day," the Higgins event page states. "So dust off your traveling cloaks and study up on your runes, or just comb your feet and join us for a day of fun and fellowship."

For six hours Saturday, Lord of the Rings will be the theme of the Higgins Armory, offering themed classes, Shire sing-a-longs, and Elvish conversation.

10 years ago, the final installment of J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings was released in theaters. The trilogy, which had a budget of $281 million, earned $2.92 billion at the box office.

As one of the best-selling books ever published, as well as the highest-earning films in history, the trilogy has a massive fanbase, many of whom should be expected at the Armory in Shire attire Saturday.

After attending the event last year, Middle-earth news wrote:
"Upon entering the museum, I immediately caught a glimpse of Gandalf the Grey exiting the elevator and greeting the newest arrivals, many of whom were carrying small shields and waving little plastic swords in the air.

When I reached the second floor, a loud, angry voice hollered at me: “YOU! I want YOU to join my army!” Stepping through the doorway, I saw Saruman the White waving his staff at me. My two companions backed up a bit and gently nudged me forward. “You would make a great addition to my evil army,” Saruman said, beckoning me towards a table set up with bowls of white, non-toxic face paint. He instructed one of my companions to dab his hand with the paint and “mark” me."

This year, fans can design their own shields bearing the mark of the Dark Lord, Gondor or Saruman. While wielding their newly emblazoned shields, attendees can "see weapons and armor that inspired and shaped the imagery of Tolkien’s world and how they really worked," according to the event website. Additionally, attendees can learn the basics of how to wield an axe like a dwarf or swordfight like Strider.

Those that prefer a less physical experience can spend a half-hour singing along to songs from Tolkien's books, or listen as his famous stories are read aloud.

Attendees with Halloween in mind, can learn how to make an orc mask, and the basics of prosthetics.

Addtionally, the self-described "Tolkien professor," Corey Olsen of Washington University will host a two-hour Q&A on exploring Tolkien's "The Hobbit."

Admission to the event will be $12, most of the activities are free with admission.

This will be the second and final Middle-earth day for the Armory. In March, the Museum announced it will permanently close Dec. 31.

The Armory was founded 82 years ago when local industrialist John Woodman Higgins built a glass and steel art deco building to house his personal collection.

"What began as one man's passion for metalcraft and tales of chivalry has today become the only dedicated museum of armor in the western hemisphere, housing one of the few significant collections of knightly armor outside of Europe," according to the Armory's website.

Year round, the museum attracts over 58,000 annually, including 12,000 New England children on school field trips.

The 3000 pieces currently held in the glass and set art deco building will be added to the Worcester Art Museum's collection.


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