While COVID-19 has canceled a wide variety of events throughout 2020, it hasn’t stopped construction of the National Music Museum (NMM).
The project began in September of last year and is expected to finalize in July.
Matt Collinsworth, the Director of the NMM, said the team will adjust accordingly as the construction progresses.
“We recognize the pandemic could result in changes to guidelines and schedules as we move forward,” Collinsworth said in an email interview with The Volante. “We are fully confident that our partners will work with us to achieve the best results possible in the most reasonable manner.”
Carol Robertson, the NMM’s manager of membership services, said the team has worked on exhibits remotely, and have been relatively unaffected by the virus.
Robertson said the team has a long list of changes coming to the museum, which includes 4,600 square feet of new exhibit space, a new performance hall, conservation and photography labs and a dedicated classroom.
“The collections at the National Music Museum are truly one of the best in the world, and this new facility will give it the home it deserves,” Robertson said in an email interview with The Volante.
No instruments have been harmed during the construction process, Robertson said. The team moved the instruments to their new Center for Preservation and Research, which is an off-site facility that temporarily houses most of the museum’s 4,000 instruments.
NMM staff, USD students and visiting researchers will be able to study thousands of instruments and related artifacts in this facility. The artifacts and instruments are meant for research purposes only and are not on display in the museum.
The NMM’s improvements will be noticeable to visitors, Robertson said, especially because the museum is altering its exhibits with modern museum standards and state-of-the-art technology.
“From invention to performance, each piece in our collection has a story to tell,” Robertson said. “In our updated facility, National Music Museum guests will be able to explore and explain the varied disciplines required to create and play each instrument.”
While visitors will notice changes to the museum, some of the upgrades might go unnoticed. Robertson said USD provided funds to upgrade the HVAC system, facilities infrastructure and additional security.
Rodger Kelly, the Deputy Director of Operations, said he is excited about the new layout of the building.
“It’s so cool seeing the architecture of the Carnegie building incorporated into the new spaces,” Kelly said. “In the Carnegie building, walls are being patched and painted, the marble in the former recital hall is being cleaned, and new electrical is being installed.”
Kelly said the museum’s general contractor, Journey Construction, estimates the project will be complete in late July unless the coronavirus pandemic causes any new delays.
“Working with Journey Construction and USD has been an exciting and rewarding experience,” Kelly said. “Communication has been excellent all the way around. Everyone is committed that we have the best result possible.”