The Horniman has over 9,500 objects made to produce sound. The oldest is a pair of bone clappers in the form of human hands made in Egypt around 3,500 years ago. Electric guitars and synthesizers are among those recently acquired.
The Horniman interprets instruments in a broad musical and cultural context. We aim to obtain sound and video recordings for most of the new instruments we acquire.
Recent collections of instruments from makers in India and the newest collections associated with street bands in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil are supported by rich audio and video recordings of performances. Instrument makers’ and collectors’ archives are also an important element of the Horniman’s musical instrument collections. Performance-demonstrations on historic keyboard instruments in the collection are given regularly in the Music Gallery
Collections within the collection:
- The Adam Carse Collection (European wind instruments, archive)
- The Dolmetsch Collection (European string, keyboard and wind instruments)
- The Wayne Collection (concertinas and free reed instruments)
- The Boosey and Hawkes collection (European wind instruments, archive)
- The V&A loan (European string, keyboard and wind instruments)