Cincinnati Art Museum unveils little-known cache of musical instruments

Posted on: July 27, 2011

In Friday’s (7/23) Cincinnati Enquirer, Janelle Gelfand writes, “It was a secret known to few Cincinnatians and to virtually no one outside of the Cincinnati Art Museum. For decades, a spectacular trove of more than 800 antique musical instruments languished—untouched, neglected and forgotten—in storage throughout the museum’s meandering undercroft. The discovery means that Cincinnati could possess one of the most important collections of non-Western musical instruments in the United States. The collection spans four centuries and represents the cultures of more than 20 countries on four continents. … About 650 of the instruments were donated to the museum around the turn of the century by a single collector, a wealthy Cincinnati industrialist named William Howard Doane. Many of them are so-called ‘world music’ instruments. Doane traveled the world and snapped up African drums, exotic stringed instruments, keyboards and mallet instruments, flutes and rattles. … Conservators will be wiping away a century of grime and soot (from when the museum was heated by coal) in preparation for an exhibition of 75 to 100 instruments to coincide with the 2012 World Choir Games in Cincinnati next July. Curators hope to integrate some pieces throughout the museum’s collection after the exhibition closes.”

Posted July 27, 2011