The Music House Museum

About The Music House Museum

One of the Best Music Museums in the World

Once upon a time, amidst the rustic charm of a dairy barn nestled within the historic Stiffler family farm just a stone’s throw away from Traverse City, Michigan, an architect and an engineer embarked on a journey that would resonate through the corridors of time. Far from the setting of a joke, their footsteps marked the inception of what would become the beloved Music House Museum.

Their shared ardor for rediscovering and reviving the enchanting world of automated musical instruments breathed life into the barn, transforming it into a sanctuary of resplendent treasures from ages past. Fuelled by their passion to safeguard this invaluable slice of musical heritage, they meticulously refurbished the barn and its adjoining granary from 1979 to 1982. What emerged was a meticulously crafted ode to yesteryears – a turn-of-the-century marvel adorned with parlors, a quaint general store, and even a nostalgic saloon.

The allure of their creation was undeniable. Friends and acquaintances, captivated by the symphony of sights and sounds within, urged them to share their masterpiece with the world. And thus, in 1983, the Music House Museum made its grand debut, offering a gateway to a bygone era filled with melody and magic.

The granary, once a humble abode for the farm’s laborers and fondly known as the ‘old house’, now reverberated with the timeless strains of music. It was this transformation that lent the museum its evocative name – a testament to its humble origins now steeped in musical opulence.

Since unlocking its doors to the public, the museum has welcomed over 450,000 visitors, each enthralled by the guided tours that unfurl tales of craftsmanship, history, and the intricate engineering behind each instrument. From the delicate chimes of antique music boxes to the grandeur of majestic organs, the museum’s collection spans centuries, offering a panoramic journey through the evolution of automated music.

Step into our world, where every instrument bears witness to a bygone era. Led by knowledgeable docents, guests embark on a sensory voyage, from the haunting melodies of the 1899 Regina Corona Music Box to the spellbinding performances of the 1925 Webber Duo-Art reproducing piano, echoing Gershwin’s timeless “Rhapsody in Blue.”

Immerse yourself in the magic of silent cinema, accompanied by the melodious strains of the 1924 Wurlitzer Theatre Organ, or marvel at the sheer magnificence of the 1922 Mortier Dance Hall Organ, whose resounding notes fill the air with a symphony of unparalleled grandeur.

Each instrument, meticulously restored to its former glory using authentic materials, beckons visitors into a world where history resonates with every note. Wander through meticulously recreated turn-of-the-century vignettes, each offering a glimpse into the environments where these instruments once thrived.

As the guided tour concludes, guests are invited to explore the self-guided tour gallery, where a treasure trove of phonographs, jukeboxes, and radios awaits. Delve into the enchanting world of the Miniature City, a labor of love meticulously crafted by local artisans, offering a miniature glimpse into the heart of Traverse City’s storied past.

And the journey doesn’t end there. The museum pulsates with life throughout the season, playing host to an array of concerts, events, and the beloved Silent Film Series. Whether it’s a whimsical school outing or a romantic wedding reception, the Music House Museum offers the perfect backdrop for every occasion, weaving a tapestry of memories that resonate through time.

So come, wander through the corridors of history, where every melody is a symphony, and every instrument, a storyteller. Welcome to the Music House Museum – where the echoes of the past harmonize with the promise of tomorrow.

Excellent
Based on 154 reviews
freedml
freedml
2023-10-23
One of the best in the world One of the best music museums in the world, and we've seen lots of them. Beautifully restored and working self-playing instruments. Pipe organs, Nickelodeons, and music boxes of all kinds driven by drum, disc, roll, and book. Hear them all, including a performance of Rhapsody in Blue recorded by George Gershwin on the piano used to make the recording. Currently open Sat and Sun. We were there 3 hours and could have easily stayed another hour or two. The docents were great! Their technicians are very talented.
Bonkos
Bonkos
2023-08-16
A Wonderful place to visit! This is a wonderful, interesting, amazing place to visit!! Our tour guide, Doug, was wonderful!!! He was knowledgeable, informative and very good explaining all the instruments, etc. This is a hidden treasurer and is very well worth the time and effort to visit!! All the staff are friendly, knowledgeable, and seem to truly care about this Museum! The player pianos are awesome! I would absolutely go again and again!!!
candace c
candace c
2023-05-27
Must see! A musical gem! If you like music and history it's a must-see. Only 8 minutes from Traverse City. Our tour guide Tom was wonderful!
Marcia B
Marcia B
2022-10-05
On tour in Michigan The Museum has a collection of rare antique instruments and music-making machine dating back to 1870. When you visit you get a guided tour with a demonstration of the workings of some of the instruments. The
AnnArborMHT
AnnArborMHT
2022-09-30
Brighten up your day with music! Because this is in Acme and not Traverse City, we nearly missed seeing it when trying to find fun things to do in TC. Highly recommended! The tour docents give a fantastic tour, providing interesting history (not too long, not too short!) then set many of the musical machines and boxes and massive organs to music. All set in a large, atmospheric barn with a recreated TC bar as a center piece to store several music boxes. The tours are given upon arrival, so you never have to time your visit, just arrive! The Docents will demonstrate several of the music boxes. You even sit down, relax and watch a shore silent movie set to music provided by an organ. Really fun! While most of the musical boxes are on the ground floor as well as the museum some ability to climb steps is helpful and can be difficult for visitors with mobility issues, but not necessary to enjoy the museum and the music. Would not recommend for very young children (under 4.) Nice gift shop and clean bathrooms. This was our rainy day activity but it was so much fun, its not to be missed even on a sunny day!
KCfromKCNY
KCfromKCNY
2022-09-27
Don’t miss this A hidden gem. Hear the history of player pianos and music boxes. A wonderful presentation and fabulous staff working there.
MidMichFam
MidMichFam
2022-07-22
Fun music history experience. When you arrive, you will find out that the guided tour is part of the entry fee and is essentially required. But, don't let that put you off. The tour is needed to get the full experience and was wonderfully done. My family and I love music and we completely enjoyed the museum. We arrived near the end of a tour and were allowed to join and start a new tour. There are some fun juke boxes, radios, and victrola type items after to self tour. The finale music machine was a great end to the tour. Don't miss it.
LynneS
LynneS
2021-10-19
A Must-See! Very interesting - more than I was expecting! Docents were a little cool at first, but once they saw we were actually interested and enjoying the museum, they got super friendly and trotted out all of the speciality things and started them up for us. We had quite a party going by the end, and any new guests that wandered in joined. Bring cash for the gift shop and entrance to help them save money (processing fees). Museum is mostly staffed with volunteers, so please keep that in mind (eg, things may not be as "perfect" as you are expecting from paid staff).
married96
married96
2021-08-22
FASCINATING PRESENTATION Wonderful collection of memorabilia of musical instruments -- several of which were only 3 or only 6 still in existence. Everything from pianos, violins, accordions, juke boxes, etc. We watched an old Laurel & Hardy silent movie with live playing of piano for sound. Big moment was the Gershwin Rhapsody in Blue from the recorder/player piano on which he originally recorded.

Music House Museum Board of Directors

Music House Museum Staff

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