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Welcome to Smithsonian Music

Dr. David J. Skorton

Whether it is turtle-shell rattles at the American Indian Museum, ancient Chinese bells at the Freer and Sackler Galleries, or the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra at the American History Museum, the opportunities to engage with music at the Smithsonian are practically endless. They extend far beyond just listening to music to include learning about the history and impact of music through the Institution’s collections, including its wide-ranging selection of sheet music, historically important instruments, including an 18th century Stradiavari violin, and exhibitions and public events. These examples represent just a fraction of the opportunities to experience music at the Smithsonian. Each of the institution’s 19 museums and many of its research centers have assets showcasing music—of nearly every genre, from every walk of life, from 10,000 B.C. to the present.