About the Museum
|The Museum building will be closed for reconstruction from 12 December 2015 until 2019. During this time we will be making an increasing amount of our collections available online.|
The Royal College of Music Museum preserves and displays an internationally renowned collection of more than 1,500 items including musical instruments, portraits, sculptures, photographs and engravings related to music.
Highlights include a clavicytherium (an upright harpsichord) dated c 1480, believed to be the earliest surviving stringed keyboard instrument, the earliest dated guitar (Belchior Dias, 1581), the earliest baryton (1647), and one of the most important collections of English viols on public display.
Many of our instrument date from the early 16th century to the present day and demonstrate the development of instrument models and sounds over time.
The Museum also houses instruments relating to composers, such as trombones owned and played by Elgar and Holst, and a horn played by Dennis Brain.
The collection of paintings includes portraits of Joseph Haydn, Carlo Broschi (Farinelli), Arcangelo Corelli, and more than a hundred composers related to British musical life in the past two centuries.
Many of the instruments in the collection are in playing condition and can be heard during special events.
The RCM Museum also welcomes scholars and researchers and is part of the International Committee of Musical Instrument Museums and Collections of ICOM.