BEETHOVEN Plaster relief by F.T.Kowalczewski, based on the life-mask of 1812.  Stamped with the founder’s mark Fritz Kochendörfer[:?Berlin] and signed and dated 1903.

Exhibition Categories

> Past Images of the Month

> Music and graphic design

> Music for children

> Ballet

> Music and social history

> Social Dance: Tickets, invitations and posters

About Us

The Museum of Music History is an exciting project which uses visual images and objects to explore the countless ways in which mankind has communicated through sound. The Museum will trace the history of civilisation through its music.

All aspects of vocal and instrumental music will be acknowledged, including opera, ballet and social dance, church, military, theatre and film music, as well as ‘world’ and popular music. The science of sound, the music of nature and the physiology of voice, ear and body will all be clearly explained. An active educational programme will be developed.


The Museum of Music History is the outcome of a meeting held in 2003 at the premises of the Royal Society of Musicians of Great Britain.  The late John Cruft, a Governor of the Society, former Manager of the London Symphony Orchestra and Music Director of both the British Council and the Arts Council of Great Britain, chaired a discussion on Britain’s need for a comprehensive and fully accessible music and dance museum. The UK has a significant role in music history, London being easily comparable to Paris, Vienna and Milan, each of which has a flourishing music museum. The lack of any coherent historical focus, in a capital which boasts museums on just about every other subject, seemed to us extraordinary. Under John Cruft’s chairmanship, the Museum of Music History was founded, being subsequently incorporated as a company limited by guarantee and registered as a charity.

The inspiration for the Museum and the rapid growth of the collections were due to the vision and passionate commitment of the former Honorary Acting Curator, Oliver Davies FRCM (1938-2020), distinguished pianist, musicologist and collector.   An appreciation is published here.

What we are doing

Our substantial collection of portraits, photographs, concert, opera and ballet programmes, ephemera and illustrated title pages is at present held in two locations in London and Surrey. Selected items are being displayed online, whilst material is accessible to researchers by appointment, as well as being available for reproduction and for display in public exhibitions.  The Museum is actively collecting unique and historically significant items which will both support future displays and serve the world of scholarship. Particular attention is being given to neglected collecting areas.

What we are going to do

Honorary Patron:
Isla Baring

Paul Strang (Chairman), Colin Bradbury, Mark Bromley, Teresa Cahill, Professor Leonée Ormond and Lindsay Stainton

Acting Curator:
Adrian Bradbury

Charity registered in England and Wales, No.1104280. Registered company No.04757833. Registered office: 2a Thornlaw Road, London SE27 0SA