History of The Musical Museum

The Musical Museum – A Brief History

The Musical Museum was founded nearly 50 years ago by the late Frank Holland. He started with his own private collection of some half dozen reproducing pianos, and in 1963 he was given use of the former St George’s Church, Brentford to get the collection under one roof. He was initially allowed use of the premises for only two years but the museum was still there over 40 years later!

In 1966, the collection was formed into a Charitable Trust under the aegis of the Department of Education & Science. In the early years, a number of famous pianists who had recorded rolls earlier in the century, came along to the museum to hear themselves play. In 1989, in line with modern museum practice, the old Charitable Trust was re-formed into a Company, limited by guarantee, with charitable status. A separate trading division was also created at this time. Unfortunately, Frank Holland died before these transformations were completed.

During its 40 years or so of existence, the museum’s collection has grown steadily and it now enjoys a national and international reputation as one of the finest and most important collections of its kind in the world…

The Building

The current building was specially designed for the Musical Museum and was opened in June 2008. The shell of the building was provided under a section 106 agreement and the fitting-out was funded by a Heritage Lottery Grant. The transfer of the collection from the old building and the setting-up of the galleries was carried out entirely by volunteers. Running the new building requires dedicated staff and there is now a small number of paid employees who look after the basic, but essential, requirements of running the museum and maintaining the building.