Our projects

Harp
The Royal College of Music Museum supports teaching and research, operates in an advisory capacity and, alongside its work in conservation, is committed to working with a range of other institutions on providing access to important historical artefacts.

We keenly encourage research with practical musical application and, equally, practical projects that foster an interest in research. We have developed a mini series of concerts based on manuscripts held in the RCM collections. Through this, students are introduced to working with primary sources in create performing editions and are encouraged to use these insights to develop their own programming ideas.

In 2016 an overview of the collections was created alongside a written report of the Museum’s vast iconography collections. This work has allowed us to identify which items may be of interest for research projects.

Collaborative relationships are leading to several research recordings being carried out on instruments from the Museum collection. Examples include a complete recording of William Lawes’ music for lyra viol by Richard Boothby using a viol made by Richard Meares in the 1680s, and a recording of the chamber version of Haydn’s London Symphonies.

Some of our larger projects are listed below.

Royal College of Music Museum online catalogue

Our online catalogue provides a single access point to explore our collections, comprising musical instruments, paintings, photographs, engravings, and sculptures, and various items of ephemera and memorabilia. An invaluable tool for RCM students, professors, researchers and music lovers, each item features a high-quality image and detailed descriptions, including information about makers, artists, musicians, composers and the history of the College.

Through our programme of cataloguing and digitisation, the catalogue will also feature thousands of items of iconography depicting important musicians and other musical themes.

Browse the catalogue

MINIM-UK

The MINIM-UK project aims to provide a new online database of historic instruments that will allow the public to find out about 20,000 individual instruments held in more than 100 musical instrument collections in the UK. The project is led by the Royal College of Music, in a partnership with the Royal Academy of Music, the Horniman Museum and Gardens, and the University of Edinburgh. The resource will launch in October 2017.

The project has received support from both the Higher Education Funding Council for England Catalyst fund (HEFCE), and the Google Cultural Institute, which works to digitally preserve important cultural materials internationally.

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COST Action

In 2013 the Museum was nominated UK national representative, together with the Courtauld Institute, for a four year COST Action to explore the application of hard sciences to the study and preservation of wooden musical instruments. The Curator is a member of the Steering Group and Working Group Leader and the RCM hosted the 2015 International Conference of the Action on 'Effects of Playing on Wooden Musical Instruments'. The RCM Museum and the Courtauld Institute continue to act as UK national representative in the Management Committee of the COST Action FP1302 'Woodmusick'.

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MiClues: Share Academy

In 2014 the Museum was successful in a joint application to Share Academy in collaboration with the Computer Science Department of University College London for a research grant to explore visitors' interaction with adaptive audio guides.

The MiClues System: dynamic, rich contextual support for museum visits

MIMO project

Musical Instrument Museums Online (MIMO) is an international database, initially funded by the European Community, of more than 55,000 musical instruments from major institutions all over the world. MIMO provides a primary access point for information about the instrument collection and their links to other museums in Europe. Around 800 instruments from the RCM's collection are listed here.

Use of the MIMO thesaurus has provided an authority for the consistent management of instrument names, makers and categories in collections management.

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Committee & society representation

Our Curator represents the Royal College of Museum on the following boards: