On the Road with Tom and Gloria travel blog

National Music Museum


4 "Strads"

Violin decorated for King Henry IV

Gorgeous piano

Harp guitar

Harp piano

Ryman auditorium painted on guitar

Gibson guitar autographed for charity auction

Instruments from all over the world

On my way to Sioux City, Iowa I made a stop in Vermillion, S.D. to visit the National Music Museum. I arrived with only 45 minutes to closing - I was bummed! I totally forgot that I would lose an hour crossing into the Central Time Zone and add to that all of the construction delays - my ETA was way off the mark.

I visited all nine galleries but only did justice to three. I literally ran through the other six. The museum is located on the campus of The University of South Dakota and contains over 15,000 instruments some dating as far back as 500 years ago. The big question is why is this located in the tiny town of Vermillion S.D.? Unfortunately for me, there was only one volunteer in attendance and she really couldn't give me an answer. I can always Google NMM and see if they have an answer.

The highlights of the collection are the three Stradivari violins and one Stradivari guitar ( never knew he made guitars), and the King Henry IV Amati violin with its case that dates back to Louis XVI (1754-93). I found the timeline of this violin's journey from France to South Dakota fascinating. King Henry IV - 1595-1610, passed it on to his friend, Francois De Bassompierre and it stayed in his family for over 200 years - 1610-1820. The last Comte de Bassompierre died without any male heirs so it went to J.B. Cartier who was the principal violinist of the Academie of Louis XVIII. In 1879 George Hart owned the violin and nobody knows how or when he acquired it but they do know he sold it in 1879 to R.D. Hawley, an American collector from Hartford ,Conn. Hawley sold it to his friend, Albert Pitkin in 1883 who in turn sold it to Lyon & Healy in 1917. These Chicago dealers kept the violin until 1941 when they sold it to a Wisconsin businessman, E.V. Bukolt. In 1964, Bukolt and some friends founded the Copernicus Cultural Foundation which lent instruments to the region's finest players. In 2010, the National Music Museum purchased the violin from the CCF.

I drove to Sioux City Iowa to spend the night. On the way in I passed enormous areas of flooding - especially in Dakota Dunes . They have experienced some severe storms in recent days and that hasn't helped the situation any. Wonder if I will see more of that as I cross I20 tomorrow.

Entry Rating:     Why ratings?
Please Rate:  
Thank you for voting!
Share |