The topic of the future of mechanical music -- or collecting it, at
least -- is one that is quite close to my heart. A number of postings
seem to be concerned with the low number of 'young' collectors
(although I think the term is open to interpretation), but personally
I think we should not be worried by this.
I have been a member of the Musical Box Society of Great Britain now
for eight years, and have been seriously collecting since I was ten
years old. At twenty-one I am, as far as I know (and I am probably
going to be proved wrong about this), still the youngest member.
However, our society continues to attracts members who are in their
fifties to join, and it is this age group who more than most carries
on their shoulders the future of collecting.
It is not until you are approaching retirement age that you have the
income to invest in purchasing instruments, and only once you actually
leave employment that you have masses of time to spend with them. As
long as societies can continue to recruit older members, then the future
of mechanical music is not as insecure as some think.
However, there is, I fear, especially in the United Kingdom, a problem
which could weaken the public's knowledge of mechanical music, and that
is the steady decline in the number of collections that are open to the
public. If museums continue to shut then there will be no place for
people to get their interest aroused so that they can begin to enjoy
mechanically produced music and movement.
John Ward, UK