Mechanical Music Digest  Archives
You Are Not Logged In Login/Get New Account
Please Log In. Accounts are free!
Logged In users are granted additional features including a more current version of the Archives and a simplified process for submitting articles.
Home Archives Calendar Gallery Store Links Info
MMD > Archives > March 2017 > 2017.03.04 > 01Prev  Next


Dispersing a Mechanical Music Collection
By Scotty Greene

I have been watching with interest the discussion about dispersal of
the Randolph Herr collection.  There is one big lesson here, that a
collector needs to make provision for the disposal of a collection,
not just leave it to the heirs to decide.

As instruments from the 20th century pass from hand to hand there is
continued attrition from lack of skill, interest, or just indifference,
so if you want your "stuff" to continue to exist and also be open to
view, you need to insure that your valued collection does not shrink or
disappear altogether by making some real plans.

Many people consider forming a non-profit museum to display their
items.  This is not a slam dunk solution as if you are serious you will
find it is difficult to start, and even more problematic to guarantee
it will survive.

If you followed the dissolution of the Musical Wonder House Museum in
Wiscasset, Maine, you saw that if proper legal procedures are not
followed in the beginning there will be a later disaster.  For most
small collections this is not a good solution.

DeBence Antique Music World exists not because Jake or Elizabeth
DeBence had planned well, but because area citizens saw the value of
keeping the collection intact.  If not for their intervention it would
have been dispersed with different parts going in various directions.
This was luck, not good planning.

We at DeBence have benefited from some people who planned, and donated
their instruments to us for safe keeping.  We have reproducing pianos,
reed organs and radios donated because their owners wanted them
preserved and available to public view.  In at least one case we
received a collection from an estate where there was no pre-planning,
but the administrator overrode the family's suggestion to sell it all
and split the money by donating player pianos, a Hammond-Aeolian organ,
a Cremona and Nelson Wiggen nickelodeon, and smaller instruments,
believing that this was what the collector would have wanted.

All needed work, but we were overjoyed to get them, restore them,
and play them for our visitors.  I believe their previous owner is
watching, and pleased with the outcome.

One more thing: most small museums get about 7% of their budget covered
by paid admissions.  Climate control, fire and intrusion protection,
electricity and insurance do not come free.  If you believe preservation
of this cultural heritage is worth doing, find a museum doing what you
think is a good job and become a member.  Lacking a big endowment we
are all struggling, and operating grants are hard to get.  Many modest
supporters are the best way to insure the continued operation of
museums supporting our interests, so sign up to help out soon.

Scotty Greene
DeBence Antique Music World
Franklin, Pennsylvania


(Message sent Sat 4 Mar 2017, 17:47:54 GMT, from time zone GMT-0800.)

Key Words in Subject:  Collection, Dispersing, Mechanical, Music

Home    Archives    Calendar    Gallery    Store    Links    Info   


Enter text below to search the MMD Website with Google



CONTACT FORM: Click HERE to write to the editor, or to post a message about Mechanical Musical Instruments to the MMD

Unless otherwise noted, all opinions are those of the individual authors and may not represent those of the editors. Compilation copyright 1995-2018 by Jody Kravitz.

Please read our Republication Policy before copying information from or creating links to this web site.

Click HERE to contact the webmaster regarding problems with the website.

Please support publication of the MMD by donating online

Pay via PayPal

No PayPal account required

                                                       
Translate This Page

. .