One of the most exciting things about working at Arms and Armor is the opportunity to connect with other people who are passionate about medieval and Renaissance weapons and armor. Over the years Arms and Armor and our sister organization, The Oakeshott Institute, have given many dozens of lectures and presentations at workshops, colloquia, and tournaments around the country. Do to the pandemic we are not able to get out there this fall and interact with interested people as much as we'd like. Many events that we had planned on attending are being rescheduled or switching to a virtual format. In support of these efforts we've decided to make ourselves available to give some virtual presentations on historical weapons.
Craig Johnson giving a lecture at Icebreaker 2018
On Wednesday, July 29th Dr. Nathan Clough (VP Arms and Armor, Board Member of the Oakeshott Institute) gave this presentation as part of the CombatCon preview week, covering the evolution of the medieval sword from the 10th-17th centuries. The event went really well and we've received some very positive feedback. If you are organizing an event and you would like us to give a virtual presentation please let us know and we will be happy to accommodate you if we can.
What we can do
Between Chris Poor, Craig Johnson, and Nathan Clough we have significant expertise in the history, construction, use, and development of European arms and armor. Additionally, since all three of us are also officers of The Oakeshott Institute we have access to the nearly 100 historical swords in the Oakeshott Collection, ranging from the Bronze Age through the early modern period. The Oakeshott Institute also has other affiliated scholars who are experts on many topics relevant to medieval armor, medieval battle medicine, rapier combat, 3D modeling of historical artifacts, and Islamic swords and fencing. In addition to lectures and presentations we are happy to participate in roundtable discussions or other formats that your event might prefer.
A few smallswords from the Oakeshott Collection
The depth of our expertise along with the breadth of the Oakeshott Collection make it possible for us to develop presentations on many aspects of historical swords, their use and construction in period, and their implications for modern practitioners. We can also lecture on the Oakeshott typology and the life and work of Ewart Oakeshott. We have historic examples of medieval arming swords, longswords, sabers, rapiers, smallswords, non-Western swords, and some other weapons that we can use to contribute to your event. We are also happy to consider giving virtual presentations to HEMA, SCA, or similar clubs, though we do have to prioritize events with larger audiences (since we are also busy making swords ;-).
How it works
Drop us an email at email@example.com with "presentation" in the subject line. You should include information on what type of event you are putting together, when it is, and what weapons or topics you are particularly interested in. If you can give us at least a month's notice before the event it will make it more likely that we can participate in your event. Sometimes we might be too busy to accommodate your requests, but we will do our best.
Alex Greff and Nathan Clough PhD presenting on swords and their construction to a group of visiting college students.
Although we are happy to donate our time and expertise, we do ask that event organizers make a donation to The Oakeshott Institute, a non-profit 501c3 educational foundation that preserves and researches the items in the collection. All funds raised will go directly to supporting the preservation of the collection, mostly through helping to pay rent on The Oakeshott Institute space. We are flexible on the donation amount and certainly understand the financial strains that clubs and organizations are currently under, but we would suggest something like $200 as a reasonable good faith amount.
Creating excitement about history for all ages
The Oakeshott Institute is also producing some short videos for use by educators doing distance learning this coming school year. These will be available to the public to help with engaging students form grade school through the high school. We will be using our research and work in material culture incorporated with topics in history, science and social studies to help out the teachers and students dealing with the challenges of distance learning.
Brandon Foat lecturing on sword development.
We look forward to hearing from event organizers about working with you to make your virtual event a great experience. Also check out some of our educational materials on our YouTube Channel and our 3D interactive models and free information on our Patreon here and SketchFab here pages.
Nathan Clough, Ph.D. is Vice President of Arms and Armor and a member of the governing board of The Oakeshott Institute. He is a historical martial artist and a former university professor of cultural geography. He has given presentations on historical arms at events including Longpoint and Combatcon, and presented scholarly papers at, among others, The International Congress on Medieval Studies.
Craig Johnson is the Production Manager of Arms and Armor and Secretary of The Oakeshott Institute. He has taught and published on the history of arms, armor and western martial arts for over 30 years. He has lectured at several schools and Universities, WMAW, HEMAC, 4W, and ICMS at Kalamazoo. His experiences include iron smelting, jousting, theatrical combat instruction and choreography, historical research, European martial arts and crafting weapons and armor since 1985.