Join Date: Dec 2004
The Smithsonian, at least the National Museum of Natural History, is surprisingly deficient in ethnographic weaponry. On display there are only perhaps two cases of weapons (most being mixed-use tools/weapons). They do have more in their stacks, but from what I saw of their Southeast Asian collection a couple years back, it is very patchy.
I have not see the collections of the Freer or Shackler galleries, but if what is on display is any indication, they are thin in the weapons area as well. The Freer has one middle eastern dagger on display (I forget where it is from exactly), and the Shackler only has a handful of ceremonial stone axe heads on display.
There is one magnificent Thai sword on display at the Museum of American history, in an out-of-the-way case containing various items given to Presidents by foreign heads of state. The Thai sword has a blade resembling that of a katana, but of damascus. Beautifully mounted.