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National Music Museum

Founded in 1973 on the campus of The University of South Dakota in Vermillion, the National Music Museum (NMM) and 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 14,500 American, European and non-Western instruments from virtually all cultures and historical periods, are the most inclusive anywhere.

Some highlights:

  • The NMM is the only place in the world where one can find two 18th-century grand pianos with the specific type of action conceived by the piano's inventor, Bartolomeo Cristofori.
  • A group of 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.
  • The NMM's holdings of brass, woodwind, and stringed instruments by 17th- and 18th-century Nürnberg craftsmen, including members of the Haas and Oberlender families, Ernst Busch, Paul Hainlein, and Jacob Denner, is unique outside of Germany.
  • The NMM's holdings of 17th- and 18th-century Dutch woodwind instruments by such makers as Richard Haka, Hendrik Richters, Philip Borkens and Abraham van Aardenberg is unique outside of The Netherlands.
  • The Witten-Rawlins Collection of early Italian stringed instruments crafted by Andrea Guarneri, Antonio Stradivari, three generations of the Amati family and others by far surpasses any in Italy. Included are two of only three, 17th-century Cremonese stringed instruments preserved in the world today in unaltered condition.

Renovation Project

With construction beginning in 2013, the National Music Museum (NMM) will be undergoing a 65,000 square foot, $15 million renovation.  The project, with funding provided via grants by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), is expected to triple the NMM's gallery space as well as add a concourse connecting the South Dakota Union building to the museum.  Please view the NEH Public Notice as reference to all construction, legal and historical questions.



Visit the National Music Museum's Web site.