A short history of the museum
The Royal College of Music was established in 1883. In his inaugural speech the founder, the Prince of Wales (later King Edward VII), stated that the purpose of the RCM was to establish an institution that would have “a wider basis and a more extended influence than any existing school or college of music in this country.”
In accordance with this initiative, the RCM became home to one of the most important musical instrument collections in the UK. Today the collection stands at more than 1,000 items spanning five centuries from the late 1400s to the present day.
The RCM instrument collection was first established with the help of two major donations: one of almost a hundred Indian instruments from Rajah Sourindro Mohun Tagore (1884), and another of circa two hundred instruments from Sir George Donaldson (1894).
Curators of the collection, after Donaldson himself, have included Alfred James Hipkins, Arthur Frederick Hill, Elizabeth Wells and Jenny Nex.