In June, Jonathan Santa Maria Bouquet and Sarah Deters travelled to Boston to attend the 44th Annual Meeting of the American Musical Instrument Society (AMIS) Conference, hosted by the musical instrument department of the Museum of Fine Arts. AMIS is one of the most important conferences in the field of organology and the annual conference brings together researchers, museum professionals, and collectors from across the world to gather and discuss the latest advancements and discoveries in organology.
At the conference Sarah presented a paper titled: Professor, Founder… and Scoundrel? Exploring the founding collection of Musical Instrument Museums Edinburgh. The paper explored the life and work of John Donaldson, who established the musical instrument collection of the University of Edinburgh in the 1840s and was responsible for the building of the Reid Concert Hall.
Highlights of scholarship from this year’s meeting included an entire session devoted to ancient Greek auloi: including discussions of their construction, use, historical context, and musical use; as well as a paper on Laurent crystal flutes (of which we have two) and how to determine their glass structure using UV light.
In addition to providing an opportunity for conference attendees to hear the latest research on musical instruments, the conference also included trips to nearby instrument factories and private instrument collections. The MIMEd team visited Zildjian, a company that has been making cymbals since 1623, and Powell Flutes, a high-end flute manufacturer.
Attending conferences such as this provide an important networking opportunity for the staff of MIME, as well as being an outlet to introduce conference attendees to our collections and redevelopment project. Throughout the conference Jonathan and Sarah were able to discuss the plans for SCH and invite members of AMIS to visit Edinburgh once we reopen in 2016.