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Donald J. La Rocca

Donald J. La Rocca is a curator in the Department of Arms and Armor.

Now at the Met

Bashford Dean and Helmet Design During World War I

Donald J. La Rocca, Curator, Department of Arms and Armor

Posted: Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The industrialization and mechanization of war in the early twentieth century—which meant an increased use of artillery, tanks, and machine guns, and the advent of trench warfare—resulted in an unprecedented number of killed and wounded soldiers right from the outset of World War I in 1914. The large number of head wounds suffered by combatants soon made it apparent that metal helmets, though long out of use, were absolutely necessary on the modern battlefield and that other forms of armor also should be explored. Shortly after the United States entered the war in 1917, the government turned to Dr. Bashford Dean, curator of arms and armor at the Metropolitan Museum, to address the situation.

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Now at the Met

Bashford Dean and the Arms and Armor Collection of William H. Riggs

Donald J. La Rocca, Curator, Department of Arms and Armor

Posted: Thursday, May 29, 2014

The current exhibition Bashford Dean and the Creation of the Arms and Armor Department features a number of pieces donated by William H. Riggs (1837–1924), a lifelong collector of arms and armor who assembled the finest private collection of his time before giving it to the Museum in 1913.

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Now at the Met

Bashford Dean and Japanese Arms and Armor

Donald J. La Rocca, Curator, Department of Arms and Armor

Posted: Tuesday, April 8, 2014

During scientific research trips to Japan in the 1890s, Bashford Dean (1867–1928), founding curator of the Department of Arms and Armor, immersed himself in the study of Japanese arms and armor. By about 1900 he had assembled a private collection of approximately 125 pieces. When Dean lent his collection to The Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1903, it was the most comprehensive of its kind in the United States.

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A Look at the Life of Bashford Dean

Donald J. La Rocca, Curator, Department of Arms and Armor

Posted: Tuesday, March 4, 2014

In October 2012, the Department of Arms and Armor marked one hundred years as an independent curatorial department, an event celebrated in the current exhibition Bashford Dean and the Creation of the Arms and Armor Department. Through the closing of the exhibition on October 13, 2014, a series of monthly blog posts will look at different aspects of Bashford Dean's unique and multifaceted career as a scientist, soldier, curator, and collector.

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Now at the Met

Marking the Arms and Armor Centennial

Donald J. La Rocca, Curator, Department of Arms and Armor

Posted: Wednesday, January 2, 2013

One hundred years ago, on October 28, 1912, the Trustees of The Metropolitan Museum of Art officially created the Department of Arms and Armor. From relatively modest beginnings, the department rapidly developed into one of the finest and most comprehensive collections of its type in the world.

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Now at the Met offers in-depth articles and multimedia features about the Museum's current exhibitions, events, research, announcements, behind-the-scenes activities, and more.