Musical Instruments

Met’s collection of musical instruments is almost unique among museums. He has more than 5,000 instruments from all over the world. The collection was started in 1889 with a donation of several hundred instruments by Lucy W. Drexel, but the current focus of the department came through donations in later years by Mary Elizabeth Adams, wife of John Crosby Brown. The instruments have been included in the collection not only for aesthetic reasons, but also reflect technical and social aspects of their cultures of origin. In the collection of modern musical instruments, every continent is represented at virtually every stage of his musical life. Among the items highlighted in this collection include several Stradivari violins, a collection of Asian instruments made of precious metals and the oldest piano, a 1720 model by Bartolomeo Cristofori. The department encourages the use of the instruments perform in concerts and demonstrations by guest musicians.