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RCM’s MINIM-UK Cataloguers visit Collections Around the UK

Monday 7 November 2016


The Royal College of Music’s MINIM-UK project aims to provide a new online database of historic instruments that will allow the public to find out about 20,000 individual instruments held in more than 100 musical instrument collections in the UK.

Over the next year, MINIM-UK Cataloguers Ana Silva and Matthew Hill are visiting collections throughout the UK to inspect and catalogue musical instruments, take appropriate photographs and, where possible, make audio and video recordings, so that these instruments can be included in the resource.

Since joining the project in late August they have visited the Museum of Army Music, the International Anthony Burgess Foundation, and the College of Piping, where they have helped to document collections and assist the process of adding records to the resource.

Their work will allow collections to present more detailed information about their instruments to researchers and to the wider public. Forthcoming visits in November 2016 include the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, where hundreds of historical instruments will be photographed, and the Inns of Court and City Yeomanry Museum, home to a small collection of military instruments.

Oboe from the Museum of Army Music Collections

Anna Edwards, Archivist at the International Anthony Burgess Foundation (IABF), reached out to the RCM’s MINIM-UK team when the project was announced. The IABF holds a number of historical instrument examples collected by the author Anthony Burgess, who was also a talented and prolific composer: ‘Burgess composed for several of the instruments within our collection and we are fortunate to have copies of a good number of his scores within our archive. The data created will be a great help to us and we're really grateful to be involved in the project.’ Nearly 50 instruments catalogued at the IABF by Matthew Hill, including a previously unidentified English guitar, will appear in the resource.

MINIM-UK will launch to the public in October 2017. You can find out more about the project at

The Heritage Lottery Fund has recently awarded a grant of £3,634,418 to fund the redevelopment of the RCM Museum. Find out more about their plans.