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America's Shrine to Music Museum

The University of South Dakota - 414 East Clark Street
Vermillion, South Dakota

Phone: 605-677-5306

Statement of Purpose:

America's Shrine to Music Museum, founded in 1973, is one of the great institutions of its kind in the world. Its renowned collections, which include more than 6,000 American, European, and ethnographic instruments from virtually all cultures and historic periods, are among the most comprehensive anywhere.

The Museum is fully accredited by the American Association of Museums in Washington, D.C., and is recognized as "A Landmark of American Music" by the National Music Council.

The Museum is operated by The University of South Dakota, whic h provides staff and facilities for preservation, teaching, and research, and the Board of Trustees of America's Shrine to Music Museum, a non-profit corporation that is responsible for acquisitions and public exhibiting and programming. The Board of Trustees is totally dependent upon support from Museum members, individuals, corporations, foundations, and governmental units.

8 galleries are designed to show musical instruments as objects of craftsmanship, beauty and cultural identity.


The Museum's eight galleries, which feature more than 750 musical instruments, are designed to help visitors discover the wonder of musical instruments as examples of inventive workmanship, objects of refined beauty, and artifacts representative of the central position that music has played in all of the world's cultures.

Visitors can rent an on-site audio tour of fifty of the Museum's most outstanding musical instruments.

For more information, please visit their web site at:

Exhibits & Collections:

One of the Museum's foremost collections is the Witten-Rawlins collection, on exhibit in th e Rawlins Gallery. It includes many of the earliest, best preserved, and historically most important stringed musical instruments known to survive. The Witten-Rawlins collection includes rare, 16th-century violins, violas, and 'cellos from the north Italian cities of Brescia and Cremona, decorated for French kings and Italian nobility as well as superb lutes and guitars made of ivory and ebony to celebrate the splendor of Venice.

Among the Museum's many other collections are the Canning Banjo Collection and Archives, the Arne B. Larson Instrument Collection and Archives, the Cecil B. Leeson Saxophone Collection and Archives, the William Maynard Clarinet Collection, the Rosario Mazzeo Clarinet Collection, the Meisel Family Violin Collection, the Wayne Sorensen Woodwind Collection, and the Charles D. Stein Early Electronic Instrument Collection and Archives.

For further details concerning these, and the Museum's many other collections and archives, consult the Museum's website at: afternoon concert series; Friday brown bag programs; various recitals.

Sunday afternoon concert series; Friday brown bag programs; various recitals.

Please see the Museum's website at:


Open daily, except Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's Day.

Admission: Free



Key Personnel:

Dr. Andre P. Larson, Director

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