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National Music Museum Announces Summer 2015 Exhibit
From Saturday, May 23, 2015
To Monday, September 07, 2015
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Contact atricia L. Bornhofen Manager o (605) 677-3971 [email protected]

National Music Museum Announces Summer 2015 Exhibit:
“Banding Together: The American Soldiers’ Musical Arsenal”
(Vermillion, South Dakota) -- The arsenal of war is more than weapons. It is all the objects that accompany the soldier through the experience – whatever ‘defends’ the human, the self. This summer, the National Music Museum (Vermillion, South Dakota) is looking at the American soldier’s ‘arsenal’ through a fascinating exhibit of historic music and musical instruments: a violin decorated and played by a Civil War soldier from Troy, New York; a fragment of a harmonica plate found on the Vicksburg battlefield; a snare drum used in a field-artillery battalion during World War I; a clarinet given to an Army private recovering from injuries sustained in World War II’s Battle of the Bulge — among the many items to be displayed. “Banding Together: The American Soldiers’ Musical Arsenal” will run from May 23 to September 7, 2015, at the National Music Museum.
The Museum will draw on its massive overall holdings of 15,000 instruments to select many previously un-displayed artifacts: numerous instruments issued to or used by U.S. soldiers throughout American history, from the Revolutionary War through the War in Iraq.
Also included in the exhibit will be over-the-shoulder horns played by military bands during the Civil War; a bass drum played for late 19th-century reunions of the “Bucktails” First Pennsylvania Rifles Cornet Band; two woodwind instruments carried by Spanish-American War soldiers; cornets played in John Philip Sousa’s Chicago Naval Training Center Band during WWI; a 1917 trench bugle used for signaling the troops, and surprising contemporary items.
The exhibit will also feature rare original photographs of U.S. military bands, as well as images of soldiers making and enjoying music both on and off the battlefield. Liberty Bond posters from WWI, popular sheet-music covers, a complete WWI bandsman’s uniform worn by a musician in the U.S. Army Band Infantry 134, and other rare war-time memorabilia will provide historic contexts for the numerous ways in which music and musical instruments have been used for centuries to rally individuals to enlist, to garner local support for the war effort, to convey orders on the battlefield and organize troops, to inspire, to boost morale and bonding, to comfort, and to provide a means of expression in arenas of hardship or celebration.
NMM Senior Curator and Associate Director Dr. Margaret Banks says that this year seemed an appropriate time to create the “Banding Together” exhibit. “Opening on Memorial Day weekend, this special exhibit will mark several notable anniversaries being observed in 2015 -- including the 240th anniversary of the start of the Revolutionary War, the 150th anniversary of the end of the Civil War; the centennial of WWI, the 70th anniversary of the end of WWII, the 65th anniversary of the start of the Korean conflict; the 60th anniversary of the start of the War in Vietnam; and the 25th anniversary of the start of the Gulf War.”
The National Music Museum will also participate again in the Blue Star Museums Program, honoring the nation’s military, active-duty personnel, and their families with free museum admission throughout the summer. Veterans and their families will be able to visit the museum at a special reduced admission.
About the National Music Museum
The National Music Museum, located in Vermillion, South Dakota, on the campus of the University of South Dakota, is the world’s finest collection of musical instruments, with 15,000 items in its holdings and 1,200 on public display. Through careful acquisitions on the international market and a network of music-loving benefactors, the NMM owns and exhibits some of the most historically significant musical instruments in existence. The National Music Museum Inc., was founded in 1973 and is a non-profit entity, in partnership with USD. More information about the NMM at

Location Vermillion, South Dakota
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