The Royal College of Music Museum—A Visit December 13 2022
One great place to visit on a trip to London if you are a fan of music, especially classical music, is the Royal College of Music Museum. This gorgeous space is an homage to important music history throughout the centuries, housed in an institution that produces some of today’s best classical musicians.
Before your visit, here is everything that you need to know about the museum.
WHAT IS THE ROYAL COLLEGE OF MUSIC MUSEUM?
The Royal College of Music Museum is a museum dedicated to the history of music by displaying musical instruments as well as related music objects, such as objects belonging to famous musicians and music-related art.
The museum is located in the Royal College of Music. The Royal College of Music is a conservatory, or a school dedicated exclusively to training musicians and performing artists. Located in London’s tony neighborhood of South Kensington, the college has a history that dates back to 1882 when it was founded by royal charter. Famous alumni include Benjamin Britten, Ralph Vaughan Williams, and even Andrew Lloyd Webber.
The history of the college’s museum is a bit more recent. In its current iteration, the museum only reopened in October 2021 following extensive renovations. Many visitors to London aren’t even aware of this amazing opportunity.
WHAT CAN YOU SEE IN THE MUSEUM?
The biggest draw of the museum is definitely its extensive collection of musical instruments, which are interesting for passionate musicians, history buffs, and anyone who is curious about the history of music. One of the most notable objects in the collection is the world’s earliest guitar. The richly decorated instruments span centuries of musical eras, inspiring awe as you think of the craft that went into playing and creating these instruments.
Musical instruments are not the only way you can learn about music history at the museum. For example, the museum contains an extensive collection of artwork related to music. This includes portraits of famous musicians, from Joseph Haydn to Royal College of Music alumni such as Andrew Lloyd Webber.
The exhibits are well-curated from the college’s archives that include thousands of instruments and grouped according to three themes: Music is Creation, Music is Art, and Music is Performance. If you are anxious about planning out your visit, you can check out a gallery of the collection online to see if your favorites are on exhibit or if the temporary exhibits pique your attention.
WHAT CAN YOU DO AT THE MUSEUM?
Music is not an art meant merely to be looked at but one to be experienced actively. The Royal College of Music Museum makes that possible through its many events and interactive components.
[IMAGE] Vaughan Williams manuscript score
The museum benefits from its very close relationship with the Royal College of Music in a few different ways. One of those is the regular performances that include performances by current students. Time your visit to coincide with one of those performances, and you can enjoy an evening of glorious music. The Royal College of Music is even home to Proms Extra during the all-important Proms season (the UK’s biggest classical music festival).
If you’d rather make your own music than listen to others perform it, then check out the Weston Discovery Centre. In this interactive center for visitors, you actually have the opportunity to try your hand at making music, which is especially intriguing for young visitors and the young at heart.
PLANNING YOUR VISIT
Like many of London’s museums, the Royal College of Music Museum is free to enter for visitors of all ages.
Free entry also applies to the classical music performances in the evening, making it a great, affordable way to take in some culture.
[IMAGE] Collection of Wood Wind Instruments
The museum is located in the Royal College of Music, in the upscale neighborhood of South Kensington, across from Royal Albert Hall. Previous visitors have commented that the entrance is a bit hard to find, so look it up on a map before you go.
When you visit the museum, take the audio and video guide as you roam through the exhibits, as it features gorgeous performances of the instruments on display.
For music lovers, the Royal College of Music Museum is the new must-visit destination in London.
For more information feel free to visit the Royal College of Music Museum website by clicking here.
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