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I don’t know about you but I always marvel at the antique accordions I see when I visit the accordion museums at Castelfidardo and Stradella. The inventiveness of some of the designs as well as the struggles the industry went through to improve the industry. People often moan about accordions and “how this make isn’t as good as that one” or “that they don’t make them like my great-grandfather’s triple cassotto Scandallapigiprani Artist XII any more”. We one only has to look back through time at these museums to see how the industry, who we must remember have factories to run and employees to pay through all the economic downturns our politicians inflict on us, have strived to improve the sound, the look and the features of their beautiful instruments to please the demands of artists and amateurs alike and therefore their market and arrive at the excellent instruments the industry offers today. If you can’t get to Castelfidardo or Stradella you can see some of the amazing designs in Rob Howard’s two books (available via this website), Vintage Accordions and Accordion: A pictorial History. I have fallen in love with accordion designs particularly those with some Art Deco Influence between the 1930s and 1960s. I have even started my own Pinterest page where I have collected pictures of accordions whose designs I have liked from photos I have found on the internet and on ebay. I wish I could have bought them all and given them a good home. My own personal museum! Which brings me to the main point of this article. Many of you may already know but in case you don’t there is an accordion museum right here in the UK! Or at least we did have until recently. Read on:
Caroline Hunt, accordion collector extraordinaire ran an accordion museum until recently at Bogbain Heritage Centre at Inverness but recently due to various reasons had to move the collection out leaving the venue open as solely for wedding hire.
She was then approached by a town in Perthshire last year, who planned to set up a community museum, and asked if I might be interested in including the accordions as an additional attraction. It all sounded very promising until recentrly. Firstly, the building they had in mind was purchased by a developer. Secondly, some of those on the newly set up committee decided they only wanted a community museum. It sounds as if at present there are two in favour and seven against.
A community museum will only be of interest to the local community and those already there on holiday – but the accordions will bring people from all over the UK and overseas who might want to include them in holiday plans and therefore bring people into the area also needing B&B and food etc. Caroline was visualizing something just like Castelfidardo Museum where, also if someone plays an instrument, they can be loaned one, and there can be some live music too.
Caroline needs to show the Committee there is lots of interest in old accordions in UK and worldwide – and this is where she would especially appreciate some help. She has also set up a page on facebook – Antique Accordion Museum, Scotland – Please could you possibly spread the news of this page to as many people as possible and to remember to give it a “like”.
She also recently set up her own website – www.antiqueaccordions.com – which says a bit about her collection and also shows three clips of Giancarlo Caporilli and Gennaro Ruffolo playing some of my vintage instruments. Do please support Caroline. I have seen parts of the collection and it’s really interesting.
You could say she needs the likes in order to show there will be interest in a Permanent Museum premises in the Scottish Highlands – but at present she is not allowed to disclose the town or area that may or may not be interested.
Meanwhile she will be doing a mobile display – with Giancarlo and Gennaro – at Heather Smith’s International Accordion Festival at Norbreck Castle in May (email Heather Smith for festival details) and anyone interested in the display can email Caroline on firstname.lastname@example.org