The most spectacular musical instrument museums you can visit across the world

30 September 2021, 17:36

RCM Music Museum
RCM Music Museum. Picture: RCM

By Sophia Alexandra Hall

Musical instruments have been found in every corner of the world for thousands of years. And like other historic artefacts, many are now showcased and maintained in dedicated museums, as well as private collections.

Below is a list of just some of the musical instrument museums you can visit across the globe...

  1. Musical Instrument Museum – Brussels, Belgium

    Musical Instrument Museum - Brussels, Belgium
    Musical Instrument Museum - Brussels, Belgium. Picture: Alamy

    This Belgian museum is internationally renowned for its collection of over 8,000 instruments.

    Read more: Inside the world’s most beautiful concert halls

  2. Hamamatsu Museum of Instruments – Shizuoka, Japan

    Hamamatsu Museum of Instruments - Shizuoka, Japan
    Hamamatsu Museum of Instruments - Shizuoka, Japan. Picture: Alamy

    The Hamamatsu Museum of Instruments houses roughly 1,300 instruments from around the world. It’s the only museum of its type in Japan and was opened in 1995.

  3. Musée des Instruments à Vent – La Couture-Boussey, France

    Musée des Instruments à Vent - La Couture-Boussey, France
    Musée des Instruments à Vent - La Couture-Boussey, France. Picture: Alamy

    The village of La Couture-Boussey in France has been well-known for its woodwind instrument-making since the early 17th century. In 1888, local instrument makers founded this woodwind museum to display their art.

  4. The Royal College of Music Museum – London, England

    The Royal College of Music Museum - London, England
    The Royal College of Music Museum - London, England. Picture: RCM

    London’s Royal College of Music houses over 15,000 items including the earliest known guitar, the earliest stringed keyboard instrument and the most recognised portraits of Joseph Haydn and Farinelli.

    View more: Discover some of the instruments of the RCM music museum on our Instagram

  5. Sammlung alter Musikinstrumente, Kunsthistorisches Museum – Vienna, Austria

    Sammlung alter Musikinstrumente, Kunsthistorisches Museum - Vienna, Austria
    Sammlung alter Musikinstrumente, Kunsthistorisches Museum - Vienna, Austria. Picture: Wikipedia Commons

    The Sammlung alter Musikinstrumente is a permanent exhibition at Vienna’s Kunsthistorisches Museum. The collection has a particularly diverse range of clavichords and Viennese fortepianos, as well as a violin which comes from the estate of Leopold Mozart.

  6. Horniman Museum and Gardens Music Gallery – London

    Horniman Museum and Gardens Music Gallery - London
    Horniman Museum and Gardens Music Gallery - London. Picture: Alamy

    This South-East London museum boasts over 1,300 musical instruments in its basement music gallery. Interactive sound tables offer guests the opportunity to hear their favourite instruments.

  7. Museum Vleeshuis – Antwerp, Belgium

    Museum Vleeshuis - Antwerp, Belgium
    Museum Vleeshuis - Antwerp, Belgium. Picture: Alamy

    The Vleeshuis, which translates to the Butcher’s Hall, or quite literally, the Meat House, is a former guildhall turned museum. Musical instruments have been a prominent part of this collection since the beginning of the 1970s.

  8. Musikinstrumenten-Museum der Universität Leipzig – Leipzig, Germany

    Musikinstrumenten-Museum der Universität Leipzig - Leipzig, Germany
    Musikinstrumenten-Museum der Universität Leipzig - Leipzig, Germany. Picture: Wikipedia Commons

    The Museum of Musical Instruments in the University of Leipzig is one of the largest musical instrument museums in Europe, housing around around 10,000 objects.

  9. Bate Collection of Musical Instruments – University of Oxford, England

    Bate Collection of Musical Instruments - University of Oxford, England
    Bate Collection of Musical Instruments - University of Oxford, England. Picture: Alamy

    Housed in the faculty of music at the University of Oxford, the Bate Collection is the most comprehensive collection of European woodwind, brass and percussion instruments in Britain with over 2,000 objects under its roof. Instruments are kept in playing condition by a dedicated team and are often used for performances and recitals.

  10. Musée de la Musique, Cité de la Musique – Paris, France

    Musée de la Musique, Cité de la Musique - Paris, France
    Musée de la Musique, Cité de la Musique - Paris, France. Picture: Alamy

    Within the Philharmonie de Paris, a complex of concert halls in the French capital, sits the Museum of Music. The collection has more than 8,000 instruments and art objects, plus a piano belonging to Chopin and a guitar belonging to Brassens.

  11. National Museum Sharan Rani Gallery of Musical Instruments – New Delhi, India

    National Museum Sharan Rani Gallery of Musical Instruments - New Delhi, India
    National Museum Sharan Rani Gallery of Musical Instruments - New Delhi, India. Picture: Alamy

    An exhibition of 450 musical instruments at the National Museum of New Delhi narrates the story of India’s musical history. The permanent exhibition includes instruments ranging from the 15th to the 19th century.

  12. Musical Instrument Museum – Phoenix, Arizona, United States

    Musical Instrument Museum - Phoenix, Arizona, United States
    Musical Instrument Museum - Phoenix, Arizona, United States. Picture: Alamy

    This American museum houses a global collection of over 8,000 musical instruments from nearly 200 countries and territories. Founded in 2010, the musical instrument museum has a primary focus on the instruments of today, as opposed to their history and beginnings.

  13. RNCM Collection of Historic Musical Instruments

    RNCM Collection of Historic Musical Instruments
    RNCM Collection of Historic Musical Instruments. Picture: Michael Pollard

    The Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester houses a Collection of Historic Musical Instruments. Items include violins by Antonio Stradivari and wind instruments from the 18th and early 19th centuries.