The Musical Museum - CHS Rentals
The Musical Museum
by Cedric

The Musical Museum is located in Brentford close to Kew Bridge and 10 minutes walk from Kew Bridge railway station. The museum contains one of the world’s foremost collections of self-playing musical instruments. From the tiniest of clockwork musical boxes to a Mighty Wurlitzer, the collection embraces an array of rare working player pianos, orchestrions, orchestrelles, residence organs and violin players. The Museum also contains the world’s largest collection of historic musical rolls.

The instruments and exhibits are arranged over three floors. The ground floor galleries display instruments once found in the large houses of the wealthy and in more humble dwelling and cafes. Visitors can take in the displays of musical toys and street instruments and experience the actions and sounds of self-playing instruments.

The building also houses a concert hall which doubles as a cinema that can seat up to 230 people. It is in the concert hall that the fully restored Wurlitzer theatre organ can be found. It was formerly the resident organ at the Regal Cinema in Kingston. A range of musical entertainment spanning organ recitals, cabaret, classical music and light opera is on regular offer. Performers come from many parts of the UK and overseas. The organ can also be attached to a roll playing mechanism.

The Museum was founded in 1963 by the late Frank Holland as The British Piano Museum. He believed that self-playing musical instruments should be preserved and played. He had started a personal collection of player pianos and other instruments but these eventually filled his flat. Consequently in 1963 the collection was moved to the redundant church of St. George’s in Brentford. It remained there until 2008 when a new museum building was opened nearby.

Staffed mainly by volunteers, specialist guides demonstrate instruments and audio tours are available in English, French and German providing a comprehensive introduction to the collection.

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