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What is the National Music Museum?
Founded in 1973 on the campus of The University of South Dakota in Vermillion, the National Music Museum (NMM) & Center for Study of the History of Musical Instruments is one of the great institutions of its kind in the world. Its renowned collections, which include more than 15,000 American, European, and non-Western instruments from virtually all cultures and historical periods, are the most inclusive anywhere.
Go to Fact
The NMM is fully accredited by the American Association of Museums in Washington, D.C., and is recognized as "A Landmark of American Music" by the National Music Council.
The NMM was founded as a partnership between The University of South Dakota, which provides staff and facilities for preservation, teaching, and research, and the Board of Trustees of the NMM, a non-profit, 501(c)(3) corporation that is responsible for acquisitions, public exhibiting, and programming. The Board of Trustees is totally dependent upon support from NMM members, individuals, corporations, foundations, and governmental units.
The NMM's meteoric rise to world-class status has attracted international attention, and each year the NMM attracts thousands of visitors who make the pilgrimage to Vermillion from all 50 states and many other countries.
Highlights of the Collections...
A group of more than 500 instruments made in the late-19th/early-20th centuries by the C. G. Conn Company of Elkhart, Indiana, is a resource unparalleled anywhere for historical research about a major American industry and the American band movement.
Most significantly, the sum of these groups of American, Dutch, German, and Italian instruments (not to mention the many other such important groups in the NMM's collections) is to be found nowhere else in the world.
Finally, the NMM has rich holdings of related objects and archival materials, such as the unequaled Salabue-Fiorini-De Wit-Hermann-Witten-Rawlins Collection of 650 violin makers' labels.
There are violin-making tools and Baroque fittings, early harpsichord and fortepiano tuning hammers, and 1,000 brass instrument mouthpieces from virtually every turn-of-the-century manufacturer.
The NMM’s Musical Instrument Manufacturers Archive (MIMA) includes more than 22,000 trade catalogs, price lists, periodicals, photographs, and related ephemera documenting more than 2,400 musical instrument manufacturers and distributors (with an emphasis on American manufacturers) to support organological research and cataloging. It is unparalleled elsewhere.
The NMM’s specialized research library includes more than 5,000 volumes, as well as more than 20,000 periodical issues to support organological research.
The Archives and Special Collections, I.D. Weeks Library, at USD, in collaboration with the NMM, received the Mahoney Music Collection from John P. and Barbara Mahoney as a donation in June 2006. The collection includes more than 4,800 books, magazines, pamphlets, and ephemera on all facets of stringed instruments and is one of the most comprehensive collections of books about violins and violin family instruments in the world, with the capability to support research on instrument lineage, historical performance and exhibitions.
The NMM is housed in a 20,000 square-foot, climate-controlled building, where 1,100 representative instruments are exhibited in nine beautiful galleries, such as the Abell Keyboard Gallery, pictured below.
The Arne B. Larson Concert Hall has superb acoustics and provides a perfect setting for performing and recording music played on original instruments of various historical periods and cultural milieu. There is a specialized library, extensive study-storage areas, and a laboratory for the conservation and restoration of the instruments.
Scholars from this country and abroad make frequent use of the NMM's collections and facilities, providing an important opportunity for students to meet and work with individuals on the cutting edge of musical research.
The NMM presents collection-specific concerts with appearances by Gustav Leonhardt, Stanley Ritchie, Elisabeth Wright, Paul O'Dette, Jaap Schroeder, Richard Savino, Max van Egmond, Anner Bylsma, Arthur Haas, Bernard Brauchli, Malcolm Bilson, Eric Hoeprich, Eduard Melkus, London Baroque, Amsterdam Loeki Stardust Quartet, The King's Noyse, Bach Chamber Soloists, Chestnut Brass, Baltimore Consort, Helicon, Musica Pacifica, Flanders Recorder Quartet, Hesperus, Folger Consort, Locke Consort, Ensemble Project Arts Nova, Angeles String Quartet, Musica ad Rhenum, Stadler Trio, Mozartean Players, The Musicians of Swanne Alley, and many more.
Seminars, Conventions, and Other Activities...
Finally, the NMM presents a series of Friday-noon brown bag lunch programs. These more informal events provide opportunities to explore and share the NMM's many unique dimensions.
All of these activities, along with frequent recording sessions in the NMM's concert hall, provide opportunities to interact with musicians and scholars from around the world.
The University of South Dakota
414 East Clark Street
Vermillion, SD 57069
©National Music Museum, 1998-2014