The Musical Instrument Museum used to be a department store hence the name Old England. The facade of the building is one of the finest examples of Art Nouveau in the city of Brussels. We passed by on several occassions, stopping to take more pictures in the changng light conditions. The first sight of this wonderous arty building is an amazing with its intricate detailed ironwork spiraling towards the sky. For admission times and ticket prices see the web site below. I was more than happy to view the exterior but if the sun hadn't shone I would have liked to see the musical exhibits here.
This museum was a recommendation from Adi, our B&B host, as a thing to do on our last hours in the city and it was spot on! Not only did I like the building it is at, but I liked the idea of showing musical instruments and providing you with free headphones so that you can listen to what they sound like.
The museum has a sound lab where you can experiment with a piano and a Wii orchestra conductor game (lower level) and 3 floors full of musical instruments from Africa and Europe, beginning from antique instruments from Egypt to the electronic instruments of today. My personal favorite was the drums from Cameroun.
The information panels are written only in French and Dutch, but we found free guides in English, that we could borrow to read and learn about the instruments. The entrance fee for an adult is 5 euros (as of March 2010) and before you can go in, you must leave your jacket and backpacks in the deposit next to the ticket booth.
They also have a restaurant at the top floor and a museum shop. More info about opening times and exhibitions on the link below.
The Musical Instrument Museum is well worth a visit. It stocks a huge range of instruments from all eras, from across the world.
When you enter you are given
infra-red headphones, and through these you can hear the sounds of the different instruments playing as you stand near each exhibition - very clever.
The building it is housed in is pretty impressive too.
Closed on : Mondays and on 1st January, 1st May, 1st and 11th November, 25th December
This museum is housed in a Art Nouveaux building designed in 1899. It has more than 1.500 intruments from all areas of the world and from all times. These are on display on four floors.
Once you bought your ticket you are given a set of infrared headphones. If you stand besides an instrument; on a spot marked with a headphone on the floor you will hear music played by the instrument on the headphones.
This palace has also a concert hall, a library, a shop and a restaurant on the top. This provides a view over some area of the city.
We are musical lovers, but I don't think you have to be a buff to really enjoy this museum. It houses a collection of ancient and rare instruments from all over the world. See how modern day instruments changed through time to become what they are today! Very interesting museum!!
It is worth the detour
you walk around and see old instruments and you can hear the music it can do in your headsets
First wednesay of each month all the state museums are free!
The architecture is one of Horta's nice works.
This Art nouveau building from the year 1899 was originally built for the "Old England" department store.
After the store moved out some seventy years later, the building stood empty for a long time and must have been quite an eyesore in the 1970s, 80s and 90s.
In recent years the building has been carefully restored, and now houses the "mim" Musical Instrument Museum.
Second photo: Old England from across the street.
Third, fourth and fifth photos: Instruments on the second floor of the Musical Instrument Museum.
The Musical Instrumen Museum is housed in the Old England building. You can find it when climbing the "Mont des Arts" (see previous tip), on your left. The building is one of the most beautiful Art Nouveau buildings of Brussels and dates back to 1899.
The museum itself has a beautifull collection of ancient, modern and traditional music. Thanks to headphones, you are able to actually hear the different sounds of the instruments.
Aside from having numerous historical examples of harpsichords and other older keyboard instruments, the Musical Instrument Museum in Brussels also includes a workshop to show how harpsichords are made today.
This museum in Brussels is the newest and largest Musical Instrument Museum that I know of, but there are also some very interesting ones in other European cities such as Paris, Berlin, Stuttgart and Nürnberg.
Second and third photos: In the basement a number of ingenious mechanical instruments are on display, mainly from the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. These have now been largely supplanted by digital synthesizers, but at the time they were amazingly popular.
Fourth photo: A wire recorder (precursor of the tape recorder) and an old wind-up phonograph.
Fifth photo: Some of the many accordions on display.
This new museum opened in the year 2000 in the beautifully renovated "Old England" building. On your way in you get a set of infrared headphones, so you can hear the sound of the exhibited musical instruments all over the museum.
They have seven thousand musical instruments from all over the world, displayed on four floors:
• In the basement they have mechanical instruments, 20th century instruments, a group of bells and a "sound area"
• On the ground floor there are Belgian and European folk instruments as well as non-European instruments.
• On the first floor (= one flight up) the exhibits are arranged in the form of a historical tour from antiquity to the 20th century.
• On the second floor there is a systematic presentation showing the development of keyboard instruments and stringed instruments in Europe over several centuries.
On the upper floors there are concert halls and a library, and on the top (sixth) floor there is a restaurant with a view out over the city of Brussels. (They call it a "wonderful" view.)
Second and third photos: Some of the many historical keyboard instruments on display on the second floor of the museum.
Fourth photo: Drums.
Fifth photo: Some of the many non-European instruments exhibited on the ground floor.
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