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Stearns Collection FAQ

What is the Stearns Collection of Musical Instruments?

The Stearns Collection of Musical Instruments is the largest assemblage of musical instruments associated with a North American university. The collection holds over 2,500 pieces of historical and contemporary instruments representing six continents. The collection's history is atypical when compared to other significant collections of musical instruments due to Frederick Stearns' anthropological approach to collecting in all areas of the globe, rather than an exclusive focus on Western instruments.

Where is the Stearns Collection located?

A limited number of instruments are on display on the second floor lobby of the Earl V. Moore Building of the School of Music, Theatre & Dance on Baits Drive in the University of Michigan North Campus area.  Please see Directions/Hours for more information. Holders of tickets to events at Hill Auditorium are invited to visit the Kennedy Lobby (lower level lobby) and balcony area to view additional Stearns exhibits.

Is the collection free?

Admission to the collection is free at all times.

How do I arrange a group tour?

Tours can be arranged by contacting Carol Stepanchuk at 734 936-2891 or e-mail at

How can I support the Stearns Collection?

Please see Donations for more information.

How can I see intruments that are not on display?

We invite you to visit our new online database to view images and descriptions of nearly all instruments currently held by the Stearns Collection. Those instruments not on display at the School of Music, Theatre & Dance or Hill Auditorium are held in an off-campus, secure storage facility. The Stearns Collection is pleased to announce that the University of Michigan is currently investing in improvements to the storage facility including temperature and humidity upgrades, fire suppression upgrades, and providing of additional square footage for collection holdings and conservation.

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Photography Credits:

U-M Photo Services

Joe Welsh

Peter Smith

David Smith

Glen Behring

Tom Bower