Useful links

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Annotated links

CIMCIM – is the branch Committee of ICOM (see below) dealing with musical instruments. The acronym  stands for Comité International des Musées et Collections d’Instruments et de Musique (International Committee of Museums and Collections of Instruments and Music). CIMCIM aims to promote high professional standards in the use and conservation of musical instruments in museums and collections. Its website offers various resources for museum professionals who work with musical instruments.

ICOM – stands for International Council of Museums. It is a network of more than 35,000 members and museum professionals who represent the global museum community and it is a leading force in ethical matters. Its diplomatic forum, made up of experts from 136 countries and territories, responds to the challenges museums face worldwide. It has 119 National Committees and 30 International Committees dedicated to various museum specialities, including CIMCIM (see above) for musical instruments.

ICON – The Institute of Conservation (ICON) is a registered charity and the professional body for the conservation of our cultural heritage. ICON raises awareness of the cultural, social and economic value of caring for heritage and champions high standards of conservation. Also the ICON Ethnography Group dedicated to the conservation of local, national and international ethnographic collections.

MIMO – stands for Musical Instrument Museums Online. It is the world’s largest freely accessible database for information on musical instruments held in public collections. Its database now (2016) contains the records of 56404 instruments.

MIMO Digitisation Standards – This site is particularly helpful to those who will be photographing instruments. In addition to technical standards, it shows the view(s) of each type of musical instrument that would provide the most information and would be most useful to researchers and specialists.

MINIM-UK – stands for Musical INstrument Interface for Museums and Collections. The project aims to provide a new online database of historic instruments that will allow the public to find out about 20,000 individual instruments held in more than 100 musical instrument collections in the UK. The project is led by the Royal College of Music, in a partnership with the Royal Academy of Music, the Horniman Museum and Gardens, and the University of Edinburgh. The resource will launch in October 2017.

THE GALPIN SOCIETY – The Galpin Society, based in the UK, has an international membership of people who have an interest in musical instruments. It is named after Canon Francis Galpin. The Galpin Society Journal is produced once a year and includes articles and in-depth studies on all topics related to musical instruments. The Newsletter appears three times a year.

AMIS – The American Musical Instrument Society, based in the USA, is an international organisation founded in 1971 to promote better understanding of all aspects of the history, design, construction, restoration, and usage of musical instruments in all cultures and from all periods. The AMIS Journal is produced once a year and there are regular newsletters.

HORNIMAN MUSEUM AND GARDENS – holds a collection of over 9,000 musical instruments from around the world. Information about many of its instruments can be found on the website. Go to ‘Collections, Browse, Search, Tag’.

SUBJECT SPECIALIST NETWORKS – Subject Specialist Networks, like MIRN, revolve around a subject specialism. They are drawn from established professional membership bodies, or less defined networks of museums. These networks help to develop the knowledge and expertise associated with specialist collections. They act as a democratic forum for the sharing of expertise, research, mentoring and developing best practice. Every network is expected to maintain an accessible platform for exchange. There is also an Arts Council webpage dedicated to the UK’s Subject Specialist Networks.

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Conservation Materials and Information

Preservation Equipment (PEL) – for conservation materials.

Conservation by Design Ltd. – for conservation materials.

Conservation Resources UK Ltd. – for conservation materials.

CAMEO: Conservation & Art Materials Encyclopedia Online – A conservation materials dictionary/thesaurus.

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Auction Houses Offering Specialist Musical Instrument Sales


Gardiner Houlgate, Leafield Way, Corsham, SN13 9SW – Gardiner Houlgate have dedicated musical instrument sales on a regular basis.

Piano Auctions Ltd, Conway Hall, 25 Red Lion Square, London WC1R 4RL – Piano Auctions will also sell other keyboard instruments such as clavichords and harpsichords.

Ingles and Hayday, 77 Great Titchfield St, London W1W 6RF – Ingles and Hayday have dedicated musical instrument sales with a specialism in instruments of the violin family, and they handle musical instrument sales for Sotheby’s.

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