A Wild West Hero… Royal Armouries, Leeds – a Review informed by Alexa, aged 7

Royal Armouries is a museum I know well, I’ve visited many times and written about some of the things I’ve seen there. In the past I took my children, from time to time my youngest, now a grown man aged 20, goes with me and we are accompanied by his Fiancée, aged 18.

Today I took my 7 year old Granddaughter, Alexa, for the very first time. Not just my first time taking her but her first time visiting. She lives in Liverpool and weekend visits are usually pretty hectic seeing family and such. This weekend though we grabbed some Grandpa n Alexa time dumping everyone else for a few hours at a museum.

Seven years old and she loves Museums. In Liverpool she loves the Liverpool World Museum and has taken me there several times. We’ve had some fun times wandering around there. I also think it is pretty cool Alan Moore’s Grandchildren love it there too!

I told Alexa the plan – get there, get a leaflet that tells us what is on today & where. Obviously I’d read the preview I wrote yesterday… So I knew the basics but the specifics can vary daily. Essential to get a ‘List of Interpretations’, they don’t call it that anymore… We were mostly looking forward to the Gunfight so finding out where that would be was the most important issue.

We collected the essential leaflet and then Alexa found out there were three villains that needed capturing. To prove that she had found them she would receive a card with their wanted photo & crimes. These piqued her interest, to be fair she was already keen.

She posed for her own wanted poster, she was straining to get her face in shot!

We stood in the Hall of Steel first and looked up. This is known to some people as ‘the stairwell’ but at the Armouries this means a 5 floor staircase lined with weapons and armour. It is pretty cool and Alexa was very impressed, she had already seen it from outside but the view inside amazed her.

She didn’t look in all the cabinets as she really wanted to find the three villains before the Gunfight because she knew we had to be back to meet Mum, Dad and Michaela (20 months) at two at Great Grandma’s house. What she did look at she understood and took notice of. She particularly liked the dioramas ‘How did they make all these things?’ she puzzled to herself, she didn’t seem to want an answer so I left it to her imagination.

We had found Kid Carlson pretty easily, he was stood on one of the bridges between display halls. But Showtime Shona and Missouri Mike were not spotted before it was time to start waiting for the main event. Wollop! We spotted Showtime Shona and that was another bounty in the bag!

She did spot a cowboy that was hanging around with Shona but no, he didn’t look like the wanted picture.

Then the main event, introduced by Shona. Two Cowboys faced off and had a show down. They then proceeded to talk through myth and fact surrounding gunfights. Seldom were they as shown on TV.

They were often in reality quick and instant and fought over only a few feet of ground and in seconds. Other times they were drunk exchanges with little chance of killing anyone.

It was loud and afterwards Alexa confessed ‘I was a little scared’. A little scared is just right when you are aged seven watching gunfights.

But then it was ‘where is Missouri Mike?’ again.

I’m not telling how, or why… but it suddenly came to me it was worth popping to where there was Gold Panning going on. It took a bit of finding, we had decided we didn’t have time for this earlier. We realised there actually was time to fit this in.

Alexa was really please we did. She was shown by a Prospector how to scoop up sand from water in a dish and by wiggling it a bit find some little bits of gold. The Prospector told her to go to him when she had ten or more bits. She found eleven and he swapped them for a certificate and a small bag of Gold Leaf. And… she spotted that the Prospector was none other than Missouri Mike.

Full set of Wanted Cards!

We’d popped in the shop before the gunfight… So here is Alexa leaving the Armouries. Her verdict –

“That was Cool AND Fun!”


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