Royal Academy of Music Museum

Royal Academy of Music Museum
Royal Academy of Music
Marylebone Road
London
Greater London
NW1 5HT
England

Website

Main museum website

www.ram.ac.uk/museum

Online catalogue of museum collections

www.ram.ac.uk/apollo

E-mail

General Enquiries

museumandcollections@ram.ac.uk

Telephone

Main switchboard

020 7873 7373

General enquiries

020 7873 7443

Academy Chimes Music Shop

020 7873 7400

Fax

020 7873 7374

All information is drawn from or provided by the venues themselves and every effort is made to ensure it is correct. Please remember to double check opening hours with the venue concerned before making a special visit.
Academy museum
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The Museum displays material from the Academy’s world renowned collection of instruments, manuscripts, objects and images.

An integral part of Academy life, the museum regularly hosts exhibitions and events including daily live demonstrations on our historic pianos. We welcome all members of the public, students and families.

The Royal Academy of Music is Britain's senior conservatoire, founded in 1822. It is one of the leading music institutions in the world.

The York Gate building, designed by John Nash in 1822 as part of the main entrance to Regent's Park, hosts the Academy's museum, open to the public free of charge six days a week.

Visitors are encouraged to view the galleries, watch the instrument custodian's team in the on-site workshop and attend the many concerts and research events taking place.

This museum has Designated Collections of national importance.

Venue Type:

Museum

Opening hours

11.30am - 5.30pm Monday to Friday
12.00 - 4.00pm Saturday
Closed on Sundays, public holidays and the month of December

Admission charges

Admission free

Getting there

The nearest tube station is Baker Street and Regents Park.

The Special Collections and Archives of the Royal Academy of Music Library are Designated Collections of national importance.

The Collections contain early printed and manuscript music and books dating from the 16th century to the present day. There is a rich collection of pedagogical, institutional and social history dating back to the foundation of Britain’s earliest musical college in the 1820s. Any study of the history of music pedagogy in Britain, especially in the last two centuries would be incomplete without reference to this archive.

Experience centuries of creativity and craftsmanship, with fine instruments and objects that have inspired music-making from the 16th century to the present day. The Royal Academy of Music is the oldest conservatoire in Britain.

Your musical tour begins with our ‘History of the Academy’ display. Through our Timeline you can discover highlights of the Academy’s story in relation to British and world events across two hundred years. A wide range of display items includes the original score of Gilbert and Sullivan’s famous operetta ‘The Mikado’; letters by Felix Mendelssohn and Franz Liszt; a photograph from an Academy fun run; and a backstage pass for alumnus Sir Elton John's performance at Radio City Music Hall.

The Strings Gallery exhibits some of the most exquisite and diverse string instruments in the Academy’s collections, including by the famous Antonio Stradivari. Instrument displays are interspersed with rare archive material of prints, images and scores, illustrating the instruments in performance and animating the people associated with them.

Upon reaching the Piano Gallery, ask a Gallery Assistant for a demonstration of the instruments. Learn about the creative relationships between players, composers and instrument makers, as well as the technical development of the keyboard instrument. All pianos are kept in playing condition and are used for staff demonstrations, research and special events.

Alongside the permanent galleries the Museum presents an annually changing temporary exhibition, http://www.ram.ac.uk/our-exhibitions. The Museum also presents regular lecture-recitals and workshops. For complete information about the Royal Academy of Music Museum, including news, events and collections please go to http://www.ram.ac.uk/museum

Collection details

Personalities, Performing Arts, Music, Fine Art, Archives, Coins and Medals, Social History

Key artists and exhibits

  • Piano
  • Violin
  • Cello
  • Amati
  • English music prints
  • Designated Collection

Exhibition details are listed below, you may need to scroll down to see them all.

Piano gallery

  • 1 January 2000 — 1 January 2020 *on now

This gallery demonstrates the technical development of the grand piano in England during the first half of the nineteenth century and contrasts it with the daintier, Viennese style of instrument. A sequence of English square pianos traces the history of the instrument through half a century of changes responding to the demands of composers and players. The instruments, which have been selected to illustrate the creative relationships between players, composers and instrument makers, are all kept in playing condition and are used for demonstrations and research.

The piano incorporates features of the harpsichord, clavichord and hammer dulcimer to form a keyboard instrument which gives the player full control over dynamic levels by touch alone. During the late 18th and 19th centuries, players, composers and piano makers inspired one another in the development of musical styles which exploited the instrument’s capacity for expressive playing and dramatic contrasts between loud and soft. The piano emerged as a significant factor in the evolution of programme music, song, instrumental solos and chamber music, as well as being an important medium for virtuoso performances.

As well as the Academy’s own instruments, the exhibition features pianos generously placed on loan by Kenneth and Mary Mobbs, Oswald de Sybel, Andrew Hunter-Johnston, the Beare family, and the Stodart grand piano bequeathed to us by Frank Brown. The Academy also has a collection of keyboard instruments which are on long-term loan to the Cobbe Collection, Hatchlands (National Trust).

Strings gallery

  • 1 January 2000 — 1 January 2020 *on now

This gallery showcases the rich variety of the Academy’s stringed instrument collection. On display are fascinating plucked and bowed instruments from the 16th century to the present day, including a Renaissance lute, a Parisian five-course guitar, and a British-made piccolo violin. Our collection ranges geographically from local London craftsmen to influential Cremonese makers such as Antonio Stradivari and the Amati family. One star display is the exquisite ‘Viotti ex-Bruce’ 1709 violin by Antonio Stradivari, which was saved for the nation in 2005 and once owned by Giovanni Battista Viotti, personal violinist to Queen Marie Antoinette. Also on display are the ‘Archinto’ 1696 viola by Stradivari, a five-string cello c.1600 by Antonio and Girolamo Amati.

Displays are interspersed with rare archive material of prints, etchings and scores, illustrating the instruments in performance and animating historic figures associated with them.

The Academy’s team of skilled luthiers can be seen some weekdays in the glass-walled studio workshop adjacent to the gallery, preserving and maintaining the collection of over 250 instruments. As an active playing collection, exhibits change as some are lent to Academy professors and students to enhance their studies, played in special concerts or recordings, or as new display themes are explored.

History of the Academy

  • 1 January 2000 — 1 January 2020 *on now

These displays show the illustrious history of the Royal Academy of Music, the oldest conservatoire in the United Kingdom. Founded in 1822, the Academy has been devoted to educating and training many of the world’s greatest musicians for nearly two hundred years.

Follow the Timeline to discover highlights of Academy activity across the years. Find out how musical history was shaped here against a backdrop of Victorian social reform, two World wars, the Swinging Sixties and beyond.

Our large showcase displays items from the collections to give a glimpse of life inside the Academy from 1822 to the present day. See the classrooms, musical exercises and medals of early students, alongside letters by Mendelssohn, one of Henry Wood’s conducting batons, Dennis Brain’s horn, and a backstage pass to Elton John playing with the Royal Academy of Music at Radio City Music Hall.

War Music

  • 22 April — 31 October 2015

In the First World War, music was heard on the battlefield, in concert halls, in the camps and in churches. Music reflected and affected all the emotions of war — pride and jingoism, sorrow and consolation – with everything from requiems to rousing choruses. Marking the First World War centenary, this new exhibition takes a broad look at the relationship between music and war against the background of radical musical change. Original instruments, images and manuscripts are all featured.

For many, music provided a source of hope, sanity and pleasure amidst the horrors of war. This special exhibition displays a host of popular and perhaps familiar songs, printed with bold graphic covers featuring heroic and sentimental images. These were catchy tunes, designed to inspire loyalty and patriotism.

‘War Music’ explores the reality of the battlefield, which often told a different story. See a wind-up trench gramophone, a tenor horn camouflaged with black paint to stop it glinting at the enemy, a burnt-out harmonica and soldiers’ song-books.

The unparalleled outpouring of poetry which the First World War provoked is also examined, as many verses were set to music by the foremost composers of the day.

Finally, the displays follow the Royal Academy of Music’s own story during the war: we learn about the exchange of German pianos for English ones, and discover how students and alumni fared once they’d enlisted and left London far behind.

Yehudi Menuhin

  • 4 January — 30 November 2016

To mark the centenary of Yehudi Menuhin’s birth, the Academy’s Museum will present an exhibition on the life and works of this world-renowned violinist.

Events details are listed below. You may need to scroll down or click on headers to see them all. For events that don't have a specific date see the 'Resources' tab above.
Two Soldiers, War Music

War Music: Notes from the First World War

  • 22 April 2014 — 1 October 2015 *on now

In the First World War, music was heard on the battlefield, in concert halls, in the camps and in churches. Music reflected and affected all the emotions of war — pride and jingoism, sorrow and consolation – with everything from requiems to rousing choruses. Marking the First World War centenary, this new exhibition takes a broad look at the relationship between music and war against the background of radical musical change. Original instruments, images and manuscripts will all be featured.

For many, music provided a source of hope, sanity and pleasure amidst the horrors of war. This special exhibition will display a host of popular and perhaps familiar songs, printed with bold graphic covers featuring heroic and sentimental images. These were catchy tunes, designed to inspire loyalty and patriotism.

‘War Music’ will explore the reality of the battlefield, which often told a different story. See a wind-up trench gramophone, a flugelhorn camouflaged with black paint to stop it glinting at the enemy, a burnt-out harmonica and soldiers’ song-books.

The unparalleled outpouring of poetry which the First World War provoked will also be examined, as many verses were set to music by the foremost composers of the day.

Finally, the displays will follow the Royal Academy of Music’s own story during the war: we learn about the exchange of German pianos for English ones, and discover how students and alumni fared once they’d enlisted and left London far behind.

A lively and moving programme of musical events will accompany the exhibition from April 2014 onwards.

Suitable for

  • Any age

Admission

Free

Website

http://www.ram.ac.uk/war-music

Resources listed here may include websites, bookable tours and workshops, books, loan boxes and more. You may need to scroll down or click on headers to see them all.
Henry Wood

Henry Wood and Conducting

http://www.ram.ac.uk/henry-wood-resource

The Academy’s museum is delighted to unveil ‘All Hands on Deck’, a Key Stage 2 teaching resource for primary schools, inspired by Sir Henry Wood’s most famous piece, the Fantasia on British Sea Songs.

Creator

  • David Knotts

How to obtain

We have selected one section of the resource – Conducting – to appear online: Henry Wood and Conducting. Please note that this is only a small part of the resource. To order a free DVD copy of the complete resource for your school, please contact Rebecca Alexander on r.alexander@ram.ac.uk

Museum

Museum Exhibition Guides

http://www.ram.ac.uk/resources

PDF files containing information about collections and artefacts in the Museum.

How to obtain

PDF files to download.

Getting there

The nearest tube station is Baker Street and Regents Park.

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