A look inside the National Music Museum


VERMILLION, SD (KELO) – In 2018, the National Museum of Music closed its doors to the public for an expansion and renovation project. Now, in 2021, the museum is once again getting closer to welcoming people to view its collections, artifacts and more.

Vermillion is home to the National Museum of Music. It was founded in 1973 and located in the Carnegie Library on the SHU campus.

“Since that time the museum has grown its collection, around 2,600 objects when we started, and under the first director it has grown to almost 15,000, bringing in instruments from around the world,” said the acting director. , Michael Suing.

Michael Suing is the Acting Director of the National Music Museum. He says a project like this has been a goal for many years.

“Since its inception, the board members have realized that we have all these great instruments, each of which has great stories to tell, how can we say more, and in part, have a bigger footprint and more gallery space dedicated to doing this has been a priority for the Board of Directors and the SHU since the late 1970s, ”said Suing.

In 2018, it finally became a reality.

“We started moving the instruments which was not an easy task, each instrument had to be put back in its original case or a case had to be created to keep it safe while we moved it around our center for preservation and research, ”said Carol Robertson, Membership and Communications Manager.

“In the spring of 2019, we inaugurated the expansion of the museum, which is now the Lillibridge wing, which includes the Wanzek Performance Hall and the Groves Temporary Exhibit Gallery,” said Suing.

Additionally, the Lillibridge Wing includes offices on the second floor, as well as a conservation lab.

“All the needs that we have for our collection here can be met in this facility,” Suing said.

The project also includes the renovation of the Carnegie Library. The museum worked with an exhibition design partner in Chicago to help put the galleries together – dividing them into different “neighborhoods.”

“In the first quarter, we will talk about musical instruments and the role they play in our lives, examining personal expression and community expression,” said Suing. “In the second quarter, we will examine the innovation of musical instruments and how over time, either by the demands placed on instrument makers by the musicians or by themselves, pushing their own creative process.”

A third district will be made up of arts and crafts instruments.

“We will be looking at the surface decoration and sculpture and the materials that go into the instruments and how this has changed over time due to advancements in technology or access to materials,” said Suing.

There is still a lot of work to be done, but there are plans to welcome people again this fall.

“We can’t wait to open the doors and welcome everyone into the facility, COVID had put a damper on that, but we’re rolling now,” Robertson said.

A project that Suing and Robertson are delighted to share with everyone.

“It gave us the opportunity to take a step back and take a look at our collection and see how we can relate to everyone with the things we have, no matter where you started from, whether you’re an instrument player, postman, or sweetheart, you’ll find something to connect with here in this new museum, ”said Robertson.

Museum officials say they appreciate the support of donors and advocates for the project.

The museum’s programming will run throughout the school year this fall. A temporary exhibition will open in October and run until December. Right now, the plan is to have a grand opening in 2023, when the museum will celebrate its 50th anniversary.

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