MK Shows

MK Shows

Recently I had the privilege of attending the MK Shows Civil War show, in Franklin TN. While located at the spacious Williamson County Ag Expo Park I was surprised to see the building was jam-packed full of vendors. While most vendors were focused on the historical time period of the Civil War several other vendors were also present bringing in everything from as early as the crusades to as late as Vietnam.


This was a great educational opportunity for me. While having more modern day weapons experience I admittedly had lacked the historical knowledge in weaponry that has brought us to this point in modern history. Early on in my childhood, I was fortunate enough to have the experience of living at the top of a hill that just across the street was a field that once occupied a Civil War fort. I was always fascinated by a guy who came around regularly with a metal detector searching for treasure, which leads me to one of my first personal purchases as a child of a metal detector myself. I was regaled by the stories I had heard of treasures found literally within yards of my front doorstep and regularly tell people of the neighbor who once dug up a case full of cannon balls.


As time passed and I grew older I lost interest in history due to the way it was presented by teachers. History became that boring subject, with the boring teacher dribbling on about endless dates and names with zero enthusiasm. Adopting their lack of enthusiasm was easy. Unfortunately, this is the tragedy of public schools.


Later in high school, I was fortunate enough to have a couple of history teachers that broke the boring mold and would not simply recite endless names and dates but actually talked about military tactics and enacted scenes and prominent figures of the times. This made learning much more fun and more easily remembered. While I never did learn to appreciate history so much I did learn to appreciate tactical strategies such as the phalanx, the tactics of Vlad the Impaler, gorilla warfare, and Blitzkrieg.


Until the MK Show, I thought of military weapons from bygone eras as either rusty junk, reproductions or untouchable museum pieces. On the way to the show, I had no idea of really what to expect. WOW was I amazed to see so many authentic items that still looked virtually new. I was amazed to learn that as everyday citizens we too can own pieces that I once only thought available for viewing at museums.


Some of the great vendors I encountered were Tim Prince of College Hill Arsenal ( ) who shared a wide range of items. A few things that captured my eye were his trench clubs. Tim’s knowledge of militaria history and weaponry is truly unsurpassed. Tim is highly respected author in the field of militaria and is one of the official appraisers for PBS’ Antiques Roadshow. As a historical resource Tim Prince truly tops the list.

Another vendor that caught my eye was Advance Guard Militaria. ( )Their primary focus was on what is known as trench art. Trench art is basically any decorative item that is made by soldiers or prisoners during wartime. Most items were made from scraps scavenged from the battlefield.

Another great vendor was Lost N Found Relics ( ). The owner Robert Bushnell not only offered a gold mine of eclectic knowledge but a treasure trove of unique artifacts ranging from BC to the early 1900s including swords from the crusades, shaming masks and Native American Medicine Man sticks (one made with real human hair and partial scalping of bone).

Another great experience at the show was their cannon firing exhibition. Every couple of hours they would pull a group of Civil War actors together to do a cannon firing presentation to give spectators an idea of what it would have sounded like on the battlefield. I can honestly say it is a truly jarring experience (in a good way) especially the first time around. While a couple of cannon volleys can never really get people to understand the chaos of noise that goes along with war it can at least give them an appreciation through an experience of what soldiers dealt with to help them better understand the sacrifices so many have made and continue to make.


Whether you are an avid collector of militaria, considering becoming a new collector and looking for a fine piece to start your collection or you simply have a child or grandchild you want to help gain an appreciation for and interest in history than going to a Mike Kent Civil War show is a truly amazing experience.


To see a show schedule listing you can check them out here:


To see more than 140 pics of the event check them out here:




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