Friday, May 6, 2011

A true heart warming: The Music House Museum

A few months ago, Shannon and I had the pleasure of taking a trip up north to the beautiful community of Traverse City. We tooled around visiting friends, restaurants, hotels, spas, wineries, you name it, and we saw it. However, one very early morning on our trip we stopped at what looked to be an old barn and farmhouse. We were supposed to be at the Music House Museum, but we were awfully unsure if this is where we were supposed to be. Shannon finally spotted a sign noting we were at the right place. We were especially intrigued by the Music House Museum because it houses a meticulous restored collection of the finest and rarest automatic instruments in the world!

Not knowing what to expect of the museum, we waltzed in and were immediately greeted by the extremely friendly staff. Wasting no time, we were swept away by our wonderful tour guide and started our tour in a room that housed extensive collections of radios, phonographs and jukeboxes. Each individual display shows the evolution of each of these instruments and many of them still work!

The general store. The Regina Music Box is on the far left.
The next stop on our tour was at the Acme General Store. This is a replica of what a general store would have looked like in the late 1800’s. Included in this exhibit is a Regina Music Box. These are music boxes that were made in the late 1800’s to the early 1900’s. The Regina tune sheets are steel discs with the printed song title and logo directly on the disk. This music box is still working and in pristine condition. The music plays as clear as day and you would never know it was over 100 years old!

1925 Weber Grand Piano
Directly across from this display was a slew of pianos - every kind of piano imaginable. Piano’s that played themselves, pianos that recorded while being played, and just regular ol’ pianos. The one that blew both Shannon and myself out of the water was a 1925 Weber grand piano, which was played by George Gershwin. He recorded his Rhapsody In Blue on this piano years ago, and today, it still sounds exactly like it did when he played it. I promise you, it will give you chills.

We made our way into the middle of the old farmhouse and were greeted by an old fair organ that produced the sound of a 20 piece German marching band. The machine is no bigger than 6ft wide and the sound it creates can fill a whole barn! The music feeds into it from an accordion-style book complete with tiny circle cut outs to hit each note!
Fair Organ

The Hurry Back Saloon was our next stop. Like the general store, this saloon is set up to look just like it would have back in the early 1900’s. Of course, the saloon houses instruments as well. The one that caught my attention was a 1910 Nickelodeon player piano. It is constructed of beautiful dark wood with stained glass panels AND it plays a 15-tune roll that automatically rewinds to play again. The tour guide opened the top to expose the music roll inside and my jaw dropped! It looked like someone had just crammed a bunch of paper inside and called it good. I learned that the paper never gets tangled and never ends up in the same position twice! Mind blowing.
Nickelodeon Piano- Look at that paper!
As we made our way to the upstairs of the old barn, we passed a theater organ from 1924 that used to be housed in the Cinderella Theater in Detroit. The museum now uses this organ as musical accompaniment to silent films they show periodically throughout the summer.

Our final stop was at the very top of the barn to see the 30ft wide, 1922 Mortier Dance Organ. Made in Antwerp, Belgium, this organ was used in dance halls throughout the world and no other manufacturer has matched the cubic meter volume of organs produced by Mortier. The sound fills the whole entire facility of the museum and I bet you can hear it outside as well. Your whole body is rattled by the thunderous music it emits. Trust me, you won’t be able to contain yourself from dancing.

Mortier Dance Organ
There are hundreds of instruments displayed throughout the whole entire museum. If you have a passion for music you will be overwhelmed by the sounds you will hear in the museum. Even if you don’t have a particular love of music, the history and restoration of these instruments will take your breath away. If you are ever up in the Traverse City area, make it a point to stop at the Music House Museum. It is a trip you will never forget.

This week, we do not have a specific giveaway, but if you decide to visit the museum, mention this blog post and you will receive a discounted rate!

The museum is open daily May-October, and on weekends in November and December. There are daily tours and each last for 90 minutes. Tours are scheduled on a revolving schedule, so you can join a group at any time!

You can visit the Music House Museum here:
7377 W. US-31
Acme MI, 49610


Anonymous said...

I wish the picture of the exterior showed the major entrance and more of the barn section of the museum since the outside is much more attractive and inviting than the photo posted here would lead one to believe. But the photos of the inside and description of the tour are spot-on. This has been one of my fammily's favorite tourist spots for years - and don't miss the silent films w/live organist accompaniment. Check the website for special events.

scott davidson said...

Wirklich eine effektive Stylization von einer attraktiven Frau, vertieft in ihre Handarbeit. Schöne Farben und irgendwie anders und aber zugleich wieder schön. Erinnert mich an die handarbeitende Frau von dem amerikanischen Impressionisten Frederick Carl Frieseke
Dieses Gemälde kann dort angeschaut werden und als Druck erworben werden.