Five images of objects in the Hidden Treasures collection: two portraits, one instrument, a baton and a print.

Discover Hidden Treasures in the RCM Museum’s new special exhibition

Thursday 18 May 2023

The RCM Museum presents a world of curiosities in a new exhibition: Hidden Treasures of the RCM collections (2023), opening on 6 June.

The Royal College of Music Museum boasts a vast collection, numbering more than 15,000 items and documenting more than 500 years of music making. 

In this new special exhibition, curators Gabriele Rossi Rognoni and Richard Martin have hand-picked 50 fascinating items from the Royal College of Music’s collections for visitors to explore, including ingenious musical instruments, rare historic manuscripts and unique artworks.

A set of engravings and prints, donated to the Royal College of Music by honorary doctorate recipient Christopher Hogwood, following his death, are on display for the first time as well as coloured etchings by British illustrator George Cruikshank who was a friend and illustrator for Charles Dickens. Visitors can also explore the lives of some of the leading sopranos of the 20th century including rarely seen items from the personal collection of Mary Garden, and a portrait of Austrian soprano Hilde Gueden drawn by Milein Cosman. Also featured are instruments from the Royal Collections including a Yueqin from the ancient city of Guangzhou, and items showcasing the musical connections between the Great Exhibition of 1851 and the Crystal Palace that housed it.

Professor Gabriele Rossi Rognoni, Curator of the Royal College of Music Museum, said: ‘This exhibition is a unique opportunity to share some new fascinating perspectives that highlight Britain’s rich musical past, from the woman who invented tonic sol-fa, to the far-reaching connections of the Royal Family in the early 19th century. I hope it will inspire our visitors and students to think about the importance of music in all aspects of our lives, from education to cultural exchange, and of how musical objects can tell our stories.’

Hidden Treasures of the RCM Collections runs from 6 June 2023 to 21 January 2024. Entry to the exhibition is free though a ticket is required. Museum entry can be booked online and some tickets will be available on the door without prior registration.

The RCM Museum is open Tuesday–Friday, 10.15am-5.45pm and Saturday–Sunday, 11am-6pm. The Museum also hosts a series of intimate concerts featuring RCM musicians performing amongst the artefacts. These take place on Friday lunchtimes and tickets can be booked online.

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