Smithsonian Music Research

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What is Smithsonian Music?

Music specialists and enthusiasts from across the Smithsonian, working to take its vast music resources to the widest possible audience

What does the Smithsonian have in music?

  • About 16,000 musical instruments: one of the largest collections in the world

  • A vast number of audio and video recordings of/related to music, including the archives of Smithsonian Folkways Recordings

  • expansive manuscript and photograph collections

  • important paintings, portraits, photographs, and artifacts

  • festivals, performances, two resident ensembles, and an award-winning record label

  • staff experts in many kinds of music, from cultures around the world

  • research, publications, exhibitions, programs, education, and public outreach

What does Smithsonian Music aim to do?

  • Create a central inventory of Smithsonian Music resources

  • Promote digitizing music collections throughout the Smithsonian’s 19 museums

  • Raise the profile of the institution’s musical resources—physical, program, and human

  • Inspire and coordinate music collaborations across and beyond the Smithsonian

  • Build a digital music hub to provide wide digital access to Smithsonian music resources


For further information, please contact