Museums of Music

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Museums of Music


institutions engaged in the collection, preservation, study, and exhibition of historical artifacts and documents of musical culture. There are several types of museums of music: those that contain collections of instruments, manuscripts, publications, and illustrative materials; those that house collections (musical instruments and others); and memorial museums of music, each devoted to a single important musician.

The first museums of music were founded during the Middle Ages; they were organized from the private collections of music lovers and church and monastery collections. In 1864, a museum of musical instruments was opened at the Paris Conservatory. In the second half of the 19th century and in the beginning of the 20th, museums of music and music divisions of general museums were opened in many of the world’s cultural centers.

Small museums of musical instruments were founded in Russia in the second half of the 19th century at the St. Petersburg and Moscow conservatories. The Museum of the Court Orchestra in St. Petersburg was founded in 1902; it included a collection of musical instruments, acoustical devices, and handwritten and printed scores. The first state museum of music in the USSR was founded in Moscow in 1943 from the small N. G. Rubinstein Museum at the Moscow Conservatory. Important musical collections are also held by the Museum of Musical Instruments of the Institute of Theater, Music, and Cinematography in Leningrad, by the Bakhrushin Theatrical Museum in Moscow, and by the Museum of Theater and Music in Tallinn. There are also small museums at the Bolshoi Theater and the Moscow and Leningrad philharmonic societies. Other small museums are located in buildings housing the country’s largest orchestras.

The most important memorial museums of music are the house-museums of J. S. Bach in Eisenach, of Mozart in Salzburg and Prague, of Beethoven in Bonn, of Schumann in Zwickau, of Chopin in Zelazowa Wola, of Liszt in Weimar and Budapest (Hungary), of Smetana and Dvorak in Prague, of Tchaikovsky in Klin and Votkinsk, and of Rimsky-Korsakov in Tikhvin, and the apartment-museum of Scriabin in Moscow.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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