Renovations underway at National Music Museum
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Renovations underway at National Music Museum

Dominating the campus skyline is a 100-foot-tall construction crane such as this crane hire Guildford, which marked the official start of construction on the addition to the National Music Museum this summer.

The three-story addition to the National Music Museum will include an ADA-accessible entrance, new galleries, offices, classrooms and a permanent “temporary exhibit” space where special exhibits from the NMM and other collections are rotated.

Before construction on the addition began, the 4,000 musical instruments in the NMM, as well as the NMM’s archives, were moved out of the Carnegie Library building to an off-site preservation and research center.

“We were waiting for the preservation center to get done, so we could get all the stuff moved over there, so they could continue with the more intensive work on the Carnegie building,” said Patricia Bornhofen, communications director for the National Music Museum.

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When the addition is complete, the research center will serve as the primary location for research and photography, as well as further space for the NMM’s collections. 

Despite a later-than-expected start, the museum’s reopening is still on schedule for 2021.

“Not only do we have to move everything in the building, we want to redesign the exhibits and the interior look of the museum, so when people go in, they go into a new museum,” Bornhofen said.

In the Carnegie side of the building, the former office, and previously, the library space will play host new galleries. Other NMM mainstays, such as the Rawlins and Lillibridge galleries, will see additional refurbishment as well.

“This is an opportunity to really think about what would draw people to the museum for the first time, but also have them come back again and again,” Bornhofen said.

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Other possible features under consideration are a sound booth, for recording soundbites of certain instruments and ‘hands-on’ exhibits for younger museum visitors, Bornhofen said. 

In the meantime, the tradition of live concerts continues at Farber Hall, as well as pop-up exhibits at the Coffee Cup Fuel Stop and the Vermillion Public Library.

“We’d like to show people that even though we don’t reopen until 2021, the museum is still alive and well,” said Bornhofen.

The next live NMM concert will take place Oct. 11 at 7 p.m., and features Cameron Crozman, a virtuoso Canadian cellist. November’s concert will feature the South Dakota-based jazz group JAS Quintet, and the annual holiday show in December will have an R&B/contemporary-music focus.