On May 6, the National Knife Museum and the William F. Moran, Jr. Museum & Foundation, Inc. will open an extensive exhibit celebrating the life and work of legendary knifemaker William F. “Bill” Moran. The opening weekend’s festivities will include tours of the exhibit as well as a two-day Educational/Bladesmithing Workshop in which attendees can learn forging the “Moran Way.”
In January of last year, the National Knife Museum opened its first special exhibition of items made by Moran, considered the father of modern bladesmithing. This exhibit, viewed by thousands of visitors over a period of several months, was created with a loan of eighteen exceptional knives and axes from the Moran Foundation. Its great success has led to the new exhibit, which expands the number of Moran-crafted items to approximately fifty.
Also included will be many historical photographs of Bill and his wife Margaret, other memorabilia, and a timeline noting the highlights of Moran’s career, all compiled with the goal of making the master’s work accessible to knife lovers and the general public.
The pieces displayed include many that are significant in a historical sense as well as an artistic one. Attendees can view Moran’s first and second damascus knives (the very first pattern-welded knives of the modern era), Moran’s first folding knife, his personal folder, all three of his famous fighting knife patterns (the M-7, ST-23, and ST-24, as well as an incredibly rare ST-23 folder), Moran’s first cinquedea, a cased set of six miniatures made for his wife Margaret, and a wide variety of other knives from the 1950s, 60s, 70s, 80s, and 90s, encompassing hunters, daggers, fighters, bowies, camp knives and others – virtually all the styles and designs the master was known for. It’s worthy of note that the Museum is designing
the exhibit so that visitors can view both sides of every knife in the display.
Never before has any knifemaker had this extensive a museum exhibition, and its significance is underscored by the fact that some Moran knives have sold for as much as $30,000 and even $40,000 apiece. Make no mistake, this is an exhibit worth seeing.
Those who crave more will want to consider taking advantage of the opportunity to attend the Moran Educational/Bladesmithing Workshop, to be held the opening weekend of the exhibit. There, attendees can learn more about Bill Moran and the “Moran Way,” his knifemaking techniques and his theories about knife design, from Moran’s longtime friends like Jay Hendrickson and A.G. “Barney” Barnes. There will also be opportunity to hand forge a blade or two under the personal guidance of an experienced bladesmith.
“Our mission,” states Moran Foundation Chairman Jay Hendrickson, “is to provide interested makers an opportunity to learn to forge knives in the traditional style of Bill Moran. It will be designed as a class for beginners interested in learning the process of forging knives. Bill always wanted to preserve the ancient methods of forging. That is our goal as well.”
Cost for the Workshop will be $75 per person, and proceeds will benefit the Moran Foundation and the National Knife Museum.
The Moran Exhibit will open to the public on May 7, and will remain open until appoximately November so that knife lovers from around the world can take this opportunity to visit the National Knife Museum and see this incredible collection. The Museum is located on the second floor mezzanine level of Smoky Mountain Knife Works at 2320 Winfield Dunn Parkway, Sevierville, TN 37876, and is open daily from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. For more information, contact the Museum at 865-453-5871 (extension 259).
The Moran Educational/Bladesmithing Workshop will be held May 6-7, 2011 on the Smoky Mountain Knife Works grounds. The Workshop is limited to the first 25 paid signups, and the signup fee includes lunch both days as well as materials and a booklet on knifemaking. To register or for more information, contact Johnny Perry, P.O. Box 35, Inman, SC 29349; phone 864-431-6390.
About the Organizations
The National Knife Museum, a nonprofit organization, occupies a 4000 square foot space on the second floor mezzanine level of Smoky Mountain Knife Works at 2320 Winfield Dunn Parkway, Sevierville, TN 37876, and is open daily from 10:00AM to 5:00PM. For more information, contact the Museum at 865-453-5871 (extension 259).
The Moran Foundation is a nonprofit organization established to “educate, preserve and promote the ancient art and craft of hand-forged knives and tools used in bladesmithing, to establish a William F. Moran Museum for the collection and presentation of hand-forged knives and blacksmith metalwork, and to preserve the Moran shop near Middletown Maryland, as a working bladesmith shop.” Those interested in joining the Moran Foundation should contact them directly at 301-663-6923.