Stefan Rormoser of Innsbruck, Armor for field and tilt, of Count Franz von Teuffenbach, detail, The John Woodman Higgins Collection
Stefan Rormoser of Innsbruck, Armor for field and tilt, of Count Franz von Teuffenbach, detail, The John Woodman Higgins Collection

WORCESTER -- Three months after the closing of the Higgins Armory Museum, Knights!, opening March 28 at the Worcester Art Museum, 55 Salisbury St., marks the first step in the long-term integration of arms and armor into the museum's collection.

The Museum is encouraging visitors to appreciate armor for its aesthetic and social purposes, as much as its martial one. The pieces included in Knights! are largely from Medieval and Renaissance Europe, with additional cultures and periods represented. The exhibition's five sections -- Courtly Pursuits, The Dance of Love and War, Knights of the Round Table, Triumphal Arch, and The Corridor of Good and Evil -- illustrate in detail the historical context in which these works were made and used.

In the final room of the exhibit, viewers can compare and contrast wars of the past with those of the present, drawing on information about real-time conflicts from The Pulitzer Center for Crisis Reporting. Examining the use of contemporary weaponry, Guns Without Borders in Mexico and Central America will showcase the work of Dominic Bracco II, Carlos Javier Ortiz and Louie Palu, documentary photographers with experience capturing images of conflict.

An opening party for Knights! will take place on Friday, March 28, 7-8 p.m. for members only ($20), and 8-11 p.m. for the general public ($30/$10 student). The evening will be packed with performances, music, theatrics and more.

A Knights Renaissance Faire will be held on Saturday, March 29, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., with the theme of history. Visitors can come dressed as knights, pirates, princesses and more. On Sunday, March 30, 11 a.m.-5 p.m., the Museum holds Community Day with a fantasy theme. Dress as an inspired super hero and enjoy fairies, wizards and other colorful characters wandering around. Both events are free with Museum admission.

Visit worcesterart.org or call 508-799-4406 for tickets and information.