THE OLDEST CHARTERED MILITARY ORGANIZATION
We Are: The Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company --- AHAC --- Massachusetts Militia --- a patriotic service organization preserving historic and patriotic traditions of Boston, Massachusetts, and the United States. We are the oldest chartered military organization in the western hemisphere. Internationally, the Ancients have helped develop new friendships with emerging democracies in Eastern Europe. Historically, members of this Company have served in every Massachusetts colonial war and national conflict since the company's founding in 1638. The Company is a member of the Centennial Legion of Historical Military Commands. (learn more)
INTRODUCTION The Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company of Massachusetts is the oldest chartered military organization in the western hemisphere. Its charter was granted in March 1638 by the Great and General Court of Massachusetts Bay and signed by Governor John Winthrop. The Company was given a charter by the Great and General Court as a volunteer militia company that would train on a regular basis to increase the readiness and military skills of the members. Its inherent mission was to prepare its members to serve as officers in the enrolled militia companies.
The Company was incorporated as The Military Company of the Massachusetts. Circa 1690 it began to be referred to as the Artillery Company and then the word Honorable was used along with Artillery. During an Election Day sermon the preacher used the term "this ancient and honorable artillery" and the name has been used since that time (See More)
We Are Open! Faneuil Hall Boston 9:00am to 3:00pm EST Monday - Friday Closed Saturday and Sunday and major holidays.
The Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company of Massachusetts museum and library are located on the 4th floor of historic Faneuil Hall adjacent to Government Center in Boston, Massachusetts. The museum is easily accessible by car and numerous bus routes and the T rail. (Information on directions, parking and public transportation).
We house some of the most significant historical artifacts in the history of the Commonwealth and United States. We invite you to come to historic Faneuil Hall and visit us on the top floor (Level 4). The AHAC museum and armory is a leader in Boston and the community. The museum, library and armory are private, non-profit, military historical institution highly recognized by historians. Once in the Museum you will discover the stories of the Ancients and how they participated in all of America's conflicts. The armory and museum are fully accessible via an elevator on the ground floor of Faneuil Hall. Hours of Operation: 9:00am to 3:00pm EST Monday - Friday. Closed Saturday and Sunday and major holidays. NOTE: Children younger than 16 years of age must be accompanied by an adult at all times. Children must be kept under control. No running or horseplay or loud boisterous behavior allowed. Group visits should contact us in advance.
The company was chartered in 1638 by the great and General Court of Massachusetts Bay Colony. Its Headquarters and Armory have been here in Faneuil Hall since 1746. Facing you at the west end of the Armory is the Great Seal of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Commissioned in 1897, it is made of one piece of wood and measures seven feet in height and is five feet wide. The Indian (Massasoit) has a slightly different stance in the modern seal. The portraits that go around the upper walls are Past Commanders (PC) of the Ancient and Honorable. Starting on the left end of the room they are in chronological order. Around their neck is the gorget, the symbol of the Commanding Officer. In the days of armor it was the large collar that connected the breast plate to the helmet. An exhibit of the gorget is to your right. In 1899, the Armory was expanded from thirty feet to the present forty eight feet. To celebrate this, the Ancients commissioned five Boston artists to paint thirteen historical paintings. All were painted between 1901 and 1903. The series starts on your right. If you are to ask if the painting of Washington Crossing the Delaware is original...the answer is NO. The original is in the Metropolitan Museum in New York. The painting on the west wall is called "The First Muster". It depicts the Ancients on Boston Common in 1638. A Drum Head Election of officers took place and has been repeated every year. (It is held the first Monday in June...rain or shine!) The stairway to the Commander's Quarters has thirteen steps. The name plates are in the order of that State's ratification of the Constitution. Delaware is first and Rhode Island last. The stairway is called: The Stairway of the Constitution. The flags on the steps represent each state. The flags on the walls are: on the right---the Cross of St. George down to the Star Spangled Banner. The tell the story of the United States flag. On the left---are flags of the Colonial and Revolutionary War period. The objects in the Museum Room are treasurers and historical pieces accumulated by the Ancients over the years.