The Music Museum in Zutphen
The Music Museum
At the Geelvinck Music Museum you will find 18th century period rooms, a large collection of historic pianos, a secret Catholic chapel from 1628, an exhibition on Beethoven, a working restoration studio and a concert hall.
The development of the modern piano gave rise to lovely, interesting and sometimes very strange instruments. The permanent exhibit includes one of the very first compact square pianos and one of the first upright pianos. You will also see pianos in the shape of a lyre, a bookcase, and even a giraffe!
Remarkable paintings are part of the decorations in the period rooms, including a 1608 landscape by the Flemish master Gilles D'Hondecoeter and a flower still life by the 17th-century Jesuit painter Daniël Seghers.
Hidden away on the 2nd floor is a tiny Roman-Catholic chapel dating back to 1628, when Zutphen was in Protestant hands and Catholic worship was forbidden. In later years the Protestant authorities allowed mass to be conducted in return for substantial tax payments!
Our restoration studio is also on the 2nd floor. You can often (but not always) find our restorer Gijs Wilderom there on Wednesdays. Old keyboard instruments that have not survived the ravages of time unscathed – or that have barely survived an earlier ‘restoration’ – Gijs restores with great skill to their former glory, leaving the historic parts of the piano where possible in their original state.
Museum visitors are invited to play several of the historic pianos on display. But even if you don’t know how to play the piano you can make music too! Our self-playing pianola from 1905 has foot-pedals, so you can make music without using your hands!
Currently there is a special exhibit about Beethoven, which also takes a look at the local legend that says the world-famous composer was born not in Bonn but here in Zutphen! How the city’s archeology service sheds light on this legend is something you’ll learn from the exhibit.
We also have the smallest Music Instrument Museum in the World especially for kids (and everyone who has ever been a kid!). Children – under the supervision of an adult – are invited to play the pianola. To make music on the pianola you don’t have to be able to play the piano, all you have to do is pedal, almost like a bicycle – so you can play the piano with no hands! There is also a treasure hunt for the little ones and a fun museum quiz for kids a bit older.
Until the end of the year we have a special exhibition about the Zutphen-born Jan Brandts Buys, who became a famous composer of operas in Vienna before WWII. Last August, the Jan Brandts Buys Festival opened with this exposition and a concert in the Music Museum. The festival is now over, but the exhibition runs until the end of this year.