Royal Academy of Music Museum

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 on three floors, 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:


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 stations are Baker Street and Regent's 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, 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

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.
the inside of a grand piano

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).

close up of acioustic guitar strings

Strings gallery

  • 1 January 2000 — 1 January 2020 *on now

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.

Suitable for

  • Family friendly

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.

Purple and green exhibition logo incorporating the international symbol for women

Hitting the Right Note: Amazing Women of the Academy

  • 28 June 2018 — 18 April 2019 *on now

To tie in with the centenary of the women’s suffrage movement in the UK, we celebrate the extraordinary Academy women who have blazed a trail in the world of music, helping to break down barriers and make their mark.

In the current climate, when women are still having to lobby for equal pay, opportunities and respect, the story of the fight for women musicians to have their voices (and their instruments) heard, strikes a particular chord.

On display is a 1930s graduation dress, original scores by pioneering composers Alice Mary Smith and Priaulx Rainier, an Epstein bust of Dame Myra Hess and a colourful ‘music maps’ by contemporary composers, Augusta Reed Thomas and Deborah Pritchard. Discover the stories of some unsung heroines, such as composer Elizabeth Poston, and some well-known names, including percussionist Dame Evelyn Glennie.

A full programme of events runs throughout the exhibition:

Suitable for

  • Any age
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.
Mother and daughter looking at object belonging to amazing women of the academy in our Hitting the Right Note exhibition

Talk: Amazing Academy Women of the Early 20th Century

  • 26 February 2019 2:30-3:30pm

Dr Briony Cox-Williams looks at some of the many diverse and productive women musicians of the Academy who began their musical careers in the first two decades of the 20th Century. This event highlights the ways in which such composers, performers and teachers as Katharine Emily Eggar, Susan Spain-Dunk, Ethel Bartlett and Marjorie Hayward were instrumental in London musical life and beyond.


Fiona Sampson MBE

Talk: Priaulx Rainier and Edith Sitwell

  • 28 February 2019 2:30-3:30pm

Academy alumna Fiona Sampson MBE has published 27 books of biography, literary non-fiction and poetry. Her work has been translated into more than 30 langueages and she has received a number of national and international honours for her writing. In this talk she discusses how a lucky find in a charity shop showed her the way in which composer Priaulx Rainier worked on setting verse by poet Edith Sitwell.

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

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.


  • 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


Museum Exhibition Guides

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

How to obtain

PDF files to download.

Getting there

The nearest tube stations are Baker Street and Regent's Park.

Royal Academy of Music Museum
Marylebone Road
Greater London


Main museum website

Online catalogue of museum collections


General Enquiries, research enquiries


Main switchboard

020 7873 7373

General enquiries

020 7873 7443

Academy Chimes Music Shop

020 7873 7400



020 7873 7443

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.