The National Music Museum in Vermillion, South Dakota, needs refreshing, and it’s about to get just that. Ruth and I visited it on July 27, 2018, and it looks just like it did in 2014 when I saw it alone after a multi-year absence. I subsequently wrote about this 5 Compass attraction in an unlikely place on August 26, 2014. In that blog I gave the National Music Museum’s history, talked about its fantastic collection, and indicated that it would eventually become a new facility.
This museum on the campus of the University of South Dakota in its southeastern-most town has received the go-ahead to expand by 16,000 square feet with the addition of a new building. This new space will be attached to the old Carnegie building. This project has been approved by the South Dakota legislature and will close the museum for about 2 years. Details below. The National Music Museum has received more good news. It’s now one of 200+ Smithsonian Affiliates. This distinct honor will result in artifact loans, collaborative research, traveling exhibitions, etc.
if you remember B B King, Lawrence Welk, and Myron Floren you might still enjoy a visit before the National Music Museum closes, but even the cards accompanying its many displayed instruments need refreshing. On display were many rare and ancient music-makers. Ruth especially enjoyed sending a photograph of a rare viola to our granddaughter Katie who has volunteered to play this instrument in a youth orchestra. In the stringed instrument room, where I found Ruth on her iPhone, I saw the works of Amati, Guarneri, and Stradivari. I also enjoyed seeing a venerable theorbo, a Viola da Gamba that had been converted to a cello, a physharmonika (?). Available earphones enabled me to listen to many of these rarities.
This museum will be closed to the public on October 7 and will reopen some time in 2021. The New York Times once visited and raved that the National Music Museum’s galleries teemed with masterpieces, like the world’s oldest cello and harpsichord. I expect the new NMM and its ever-expanding collection of 15,000 instruments to live up to its promise to make “music come alive” for many new enthusiasts.
ps That’s supposedly a Beethoven doll!