As someone who loves old stuff, especially old musical instruments, this is hard to read:
A massive cache of musical treasures that’s grown to include a fragile harp-piano, the pioneering Moog synthesizer and the theremin used for “The Green Hornet” radio show has been shuffled over the years from a theater to an unheated barn and now languish, rarely seen or heard, in a Michigan storage vault.
That’s the lede to a story detailing the fate of the Stearns Collection of Musical Instruments. Donated to the University of Michigan in the 1890s, $25 million collection has gone from “baking to death” in the lobby of Hill Auditorium to an unheated barn to a storage unit off-campus where it sits, unseen and unheard.
Donated to U of M by Detroit businessman Frederick Stearns with explicit instructions that they be “be immediately housed and installed,” the collection is yet another victim of shrinking budgets and changing priorities on American college campuses. The collection seems to have grown over the years as it reportedly includes an early Moog Synthesizer and a Theremin.
Given how this country values history, I don’t have high hopes that this collection will eventually see the light but maybe we could pool our vast GLONO funds to mount a stealth operation to set some of that stuff free!