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David Barnert

Update On Fate Of The Music Museum

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A month ago, in the "Music Genie" thread, I wrote:

I saw a whole museum full of 19th century mechanical musical curiosities once (it was near Utica, NY, but I think it no longer exists). There were dozens of bellows-powered free reed instruments driven by paper rolls with holes punched in them. They were operated by turning a crank. Think: organ grinder, little monkey...

I've done some poking around my own documents and on the web and learned the following:

 

The Music Museum was (!) in Deansboro, New York, about 15 miles southwest of Utica. I was there in July of 1992. Oddly enough, while I was there I ran into the Kruskal brothers and their father. They were in town for their mother's funeral. The museum closed its doors and auctioned off its collections in September of 1998. Googling "Deansboro Music Museum" (without the quotes) yielded a fair amount of information, including this tribute:

 

http://mkl.com/~outback/#dboro (scroll down a bit)

 

I don't find any images of the collection. A price list prepared in anticipation of the auction is available only at the web archive, here:

 

http://web.archive.org/web/20010903122405/...9809/index.html

Edited by David Barnert

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Dave,

 

Thanks for this update. I grew up in central NY state (Cazenovia, on route 20) and my parents took us to the Deansboro museum several times. Even though I was only 8 years old or so the kindly curators let me play the old reed organs, harpsichords & such, & I think there were banjos etc. for Dad to enjoy. The chaotic attic esthetic of the place and the potent sense of the fun & feeling in which these instruments had participated made a big impression on me, along with the ingenuity and craftsmanship that had gone into their manufacture. I don't really remember concertinas but there must have been some along with the automato-fiddles, music boxes & player pianos. Come to think of it, the whole thing was a larger and probably better-financed version of the squeezebox petting-zoo and mausoleum I've operated the past 15 years... maybe I caught some strange variant of curatorial virus there as a child that led to my current activities hijacking my career in science. Now I guess its former visitors can be nostalgic for the nostalgia. RIP, Music Museum...

 

Paul

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I went to the Deansboro museum in the early nineties when I was stationed at Fort Drum and I still remember its marvels. Al it needed was little clockwork people.

 

-Eric Root

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