Stearns Collection of Musical Instruments

Holding over 2,500 pieces of 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.  Among its holdings are the trumpet collection of Armando Ghitalla, former principal trumpet player of the Boston Symphony Orchestra and University of Michigan faculty member; a collection of violin bows from Jerry Tetewsky; as well as the first commercially produced Moog synthesizer and the RCA theremin used during the WXYZ broadcasts of the Green Hornet from 1936-1952.

The collection features permanent and occasional displays in the Vesta Mills Gallery and in various exhibition areas throughout the Earl V. Moore Building of the School of Music, Theatre & Dance at the University of Michigan. Exhibition hours are Monday through Friday, 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM. Admission is free.

Additional displays are housed in the lower level of Hill Auditorium.  Access to these displays is available during auditorium events only.

We invite you to listen to an audio tour of the Stearns Collection warehouse with Dr. Steven Ball, then-Director, that was produced by Jennifer Guerra of Michigan Radio as part of the ArtPod Arts & Culture series.


More Stearns Collection of Musical Instruments events

Ways to Connect


To schedule a group tour of the collection, please contact Carol Stepanchuk at 734 936-2891 or e-mail at

Academic Inquiries

For questions regarding a specific instrument, please contact Lester Monts at 734-764-7443 or e-mail at Please include the instrument’s catalogue number (if known). Examinations are subject to approval.