Royal College of Music Museum of Instruments

Red brick building in the Flemish Mannerist style
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The RCM Museum is full of musical treasures dating from the 15th century onwards.

On display you will find highlights from the collection of over 1,000 instruments including the anonymous clavicytherium, believed to be the earliest surviving stringed keyboard instrument, remarkable and unfamiliar instruments such as the contrabassophon, division viol and serpent, plus trombones owned and played by Elgar and Holst.

Alongside these are some of the most significant portraits from the RCM collection, including oil paintings of Haydn, Boyce and Farinelli, as well as manuscripts, early printed edition, photographs, letters and many other objects from the Library and Special Collections.

Venue Type:


Opening hours

During Term Time
Tues - Fri 11.30 - 4.30
Other times by appt

Admission charges

Free admission
Guided tours £5 per head (maximum party size 25)

The Museum houses an internationally renowned collection of 800 instruments and accessories from c.1480 to the present (700 European, keyboard, stringed and wind; 100 Asian and African).

Gifts since the foundation of the College in 1883 include important collections from the Rajah S.M.Tagore (1884), the Prince of Wales, later King Edward VII (1886), Sir George Donaldson (1894), A.J.Hipkins (1911), E.A.K.Ridley (1968), Geoffrey Hartley (1985), Crispian Steele Perkins (2003) and Freddy Hill (2005). The collection was re-housed in a new museum in 1970, made possible by the generosity of Trusts and donors.

The Museum is now part of the RCM's Centre for Performance History, formed in 2004. Other areas of the centre include collections of oil paintings, prints, photographs, concert programmes and other paper-based material.

Collection details


Royal College of Music Museum of Instruments
Prince Consort Road
Greater London




020 7591 4346


020 7589 7740

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.