In the 1860s, Frederick John Horniman, Victorian tea trader and inventor of the tea bag, began collecting natural-history specimens, cultural artefacts, and musical instruments from around the world. Since 1913, the musical instrument collection has grown to include 8,000 objects. The oldest is a pair of bone clappers in the form of human hands made in Egypt around 3,500 years ago; the latest are electric guitars and synthesizers.
Advanced media brings to life some of the 2,000 instruments on display. A 28-meter-long interactive installation with three listening tables invites visitors to “play” instruments, to hear the sounds they make, and to learn about the people who create and play them. An adjacent hands-on room enables visitors to play unusual instruments from all over the world.
- Horniman Museum
4,400 square feet