Welcoming Message from
Helmi Strahl Harrington, Ph.D., Curator
behalf of the Board of Directors, it is my great pleasure to welcome you to A
World of Accordions Museum. Located in magnificent upper midwest of the USA, you
will find the Museum nestled in the beautiful location of Superior, WI, just
minutes away from Duluth, MN. Whether you are in the nearby Minneapolis area,
maybe enjoying a shopping expedition at the Mall of America, or heading north of
Minneapolis towards the great vistas of upper Minnesota and Wisconsin or
neighboring Canada, be sure to include a visit to the Museum as a side trip or a
stopover as part of your journey. You wont be disappointed!
A World of Accordions Museum is nationally and internationally recognized as holding the world's finest and most comprehensive collection of accordion-family instruments shown in 130 plus displays organized to show chronological evolution, countries of origin, specific usage and quality classifications. As a result of intense studies, I have pursued original research in various technological, acoustic, musicological, taxonomic, biographical, and social studies.
Of the 1,300 displayed instruments, about 60 instruments are identified for the AWAM Traveling Museum that offers demonstration workshops at national conventions and festivals. Decorative art and artifacts shown throughout the building emphasize the pervasive presence of the instruments' image in society.
Related cultural and historic documents, recordings and books are preserved in the Accordion Resource Center Libraries. Its two rooms include periodicals, music-studies texts, accordion patents, accordion histories, world history, manufacturing sources, general references, arts and technology texts. Published and manuscript music is estimated at a million pieces, teaching and method-book series, and composer's opuses.
Also housed at the Museum is the Accordion-concertina Repair and Technicians’ School (ARTS) which trains new and experienced instrument repairers for occupational viability as certified professionals. With resources of the museum and over 400 instruments available for hands-on training, this is the only school of its type. It focuses on total proficiency in understanding manufacturing techniques, tuning, materials, estimating, appraising, restoration, and myriad specific technical skills. Reference books, articles, and repair procedures are compiled in ARCL files. Specialized tools are available in the Museum Gift Shop and online. Each year graduate technicians and specialists provide expert service for hundreds of customer instruments in our complete workshop facilities.
The Hanni Strahl Concert Hall is acoustically ideal and seats 1,000 people on floor and balcony levels. Our Helen and Theodore Miller Concert Series has presented dozens of the world’s greatest accordion artists and has elevated cultural prestige of the Midwest region. Focal highlight of the stage is a unique and beautiful ten-foot, two-manual harpsichord encased in gold and vermillion with eleven pedals controlling six plectra. At the hall’s west side is The Duane Sellman Special Exhibits Area that features displays honoring individuals who have significantly influenced American performance art, and whose estates are contained in the museum. The hall also serves community special events and weddings.
Harrington ARTS Center Publications include in-house printing of scholarly books and articles, repertory and method music books, newsletters for our membership, documents for the worldwide web, and publicity materials.
The American Accordionists’ Association (AAA) Archival Collection, housed adjacent to the library, is the public face for one of America’s most prestigious and largest accordion associations. Here the organization’s impact on society is compiled, evaluated, and available for researchers.
Accordion Concertina Music Studios provide instruction for students of any age in piano, button chromatic, and diatonic accordions, English, Anglo and Chemnitz concertinas, Chromatic and Diatonic Bandoneons. Recitals, band/ensemble and competitive events are offered. Entertainment by professional or student performers is available.
Harrington ARTS Center continues to grow through memberships and contributions from public and private sources. Many of these are in the form of instruments and music. We look forward to completing displays for The Faithe and Ernest Deffner Legacy room to preserve their status as American manufacturers (Titano, Pancordion, Crucianelli, Video), publishers, and as worldwide spokespersons for the instrument.
We sincerely hope you have the opportunity to visit us soon, and in the meantime, this website will give you an overview of our one of a kind collection of accordions, our diverse musical activities and our affiliated schools and associations that all work together to enable us to bring this remarkable exhibition together for the world to enjoy.
Helmi Strahl Harrington, Ph. D., Curator
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