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The Royal College of Music is to create the largest virtual collection of historically significant musical instruments in the UK in major partnership with the Royal Academy of Music, the Horniman Museum and University of Edinburgh thanks to an award from Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE’s) Catalyst Fund. A partnership with Google will ensure that the content reaches the widest public through the Google Cultural Institute, which is working with a variety of institutions around the world to make important cultural materials accessible to everyone and to digitally preserve it to educate and inspire future generations.

The general public will be able to explore 20,000 individual instruments held in more than 100 musical instrument collections in the UK. The user-friendly, media-rich online resource will enable anyone to hear instruments being played as well as see information about each one. It is hoped that MINIM-UK (Musical INstrument Interface for Museums and Collections) will be completed by Autumn 2017.

MINIM-UK will also aggregate information to MIMO (Musical Instrument Museums Online), a European Commission-funded project that currently consolidates the collections of two dozen museums (mimo-international.com), and to Europeana (www.europeana.eu), which collects and provides access to millions of digitised items from libraries, archives, audio-visual collections and museums across Europe, meaning the phenomenal public collections of musical instruments in the UK will be accessible as never before.

 

Gabriele Rossi Rognoni, Curator of the Royal College of Music’s Museum, explains:

“The instruments collected by the Royal College of Music, Edinburgh University, Royal Academy of Music and the Horniman Museum over the centuries are an important part of our national heritage. It is tremendously exciting to enable so many people to connect with these beautiful and fascinating objects in a myriad of new ways.”