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Stearns Collection

Holding over 2,500 historical and contemporary musical instruments from all over the world, the Stearns Collection of Musical Instruments is one of the largest accumulations of such artifacts housed in a North American university. Known internationally as a unique collection, it is not only a precious heritage from the past, but also a rich resource for musical, educational, and cultural needs of the present and future.


A limited number of instruments are on display in the second floor lobby of the Earl V. Moore Building of the School of Music, Theatre & Dance at the University of Michigan. Admission is free.

Additionally, there are exhibit galleries in the Lower Lobby and Second Balcony of the University's Hill Auditorium.  Exhibition hours and access are limited to holders of tickets for previously scheduled Hill Auditorium events.

On display September 18, 2017-September 9, 2018
This exhibition features a selection of Americana musical instruments with origins from around the world. Admission is free.
Gifts of Art Gallery – Cancer Center Elevator Alcove, Level 2
1500 E. Medical Center Drive, Ann Arbor, MI 48109
Open M-F from 8 a.m.-5 p.m.


There are two published catalogues documenting the holdings of the Stearns Collection.  The first is entitled, Catalogue of the Stearns Collection of Musical Instruments, and was written by Professor Albert A. Stanley in 1918, with a second edition published in 1921.  Additionally, current Professor and former Chair of Musicology James M. Borders published a catalogue in 1988 entitled European and American Wind and Percussion Instruments:  Catalogue of the Stearns Collection of Musical Instruments, University of Michigan. All of the content from both of these catalogues has been incorporated into the searchable online catalogue

Composite Sitar #1031Bell Cittern #1091Thai Gong #0137Harp Lute #1124Japanese Kotsuzumi #2255Hawaiian Rattle #0028Indian Tabla #1532Japanese Drum #0373Syrian Oud #1563Willame Clarinet #0620African Rattle #0010Cither-Viol #1324Sarinda #1258Portuguese MacheteTheorbo-Guitar #1128


Trumpets displayed in case

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Photography Credits:

U-M Photo Services

Joe Welsh

Peter Smith

David Smith

Glen Behring

Tom Bower