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MMD > Archives > July 2005 > 2005.07.30 > 01Prev  Next

Museum Planned for Upstate New York
By Matthew Caulfield

Mike Rosenbloom, membership chairman of ATOS's Binghamton Chapter,
sends word of plans to open a museum of mechanical music in the
Binghamton, New York, area in memory of one of the best-known museums
in our hobby, the Deansboro Musical Museum.  The hope is to include
a room dedicated to Harvey and Marion Roehl, a nickelodeon theater
complete with the photoplayer that Harvey once owned, and perhaps
even a carousel as well.

Probably there is no need here to elaborate on Marion and Harvey
Roehl and their contribution to mechanical music, except to mention
the pioneering publications issued by their own Vestal Press and the
sound recordings issued by their own Marion Roehl Recordings.  But
not everyone may remember Deansboro, N.Y.'s, Musical Museum.  The
enterprise is described and pictured on p. 302-304 of Art Reblitz's
"The Golden Age Of Automatic Musical Instruments."  (What a book
that is!)

The Musical Museum, operated by Hardie Sanders and son Art from 1948 to
1998, was unique for its "hands-on" approach: visitors were encouraged
to play the instruments in the collection and to photograph and record
any of them.  In the 1950's I lugged a reel-to-reel recorder by bus the
130 miles from Rochester to Deansboro, where I enjoyed typical Sanders
hospitality as I was shown through the collection and urged to play
everything from an ancient barrel organ to a metal-roll-playing
Telektra piano.

The museum gradually grew to encompass twelve display rooms and a shop
and repair facility for antique glass lamps.  Art and Hardie were early
and meticulous researchers into the history of the instruments they
collected, and they kept them all in good playing condition in spite of
the use the machines got from visitors.  But time ends all good things,
and in 1998 the museum was closed.  A footnote on p. 303 of Reblitz
notes that Don Neilson, Norristown, Pa., bought the museum and kept
some of the special instruments for his own collection, while the real
estate and all remaining items were auctioned off in September 1998.

Matthew Caulfield
Irondequoit, New York

(Message sent Sat 30 Jul 2005, 16:04:58 GMT, from time zone GMT-0400.)

Key Words in Subject:  Museum, New, Planned, Upstate, York

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