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Grant number: PG-252782-17

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University of California, Los Angeles (Los Angeles, CA 90095-9000)
Helen Margaret Rees (Project Director: May 2016 to present)

Preserving the World Musical Instrument Collection at UCLA

Hiring a consultant to undertake a preservation assessment of 800 objects in the World Musical Instrument Collection, part of UCLA’s Department of Ethnomusicology.  Items include musical instruments from West Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, and the Americas, with percussion, string, and wind instruments in wood, bamboo, metal, ivory, bone, and hide dating from the mid-19th century to the present.  Highlights include a Javanese gamelan, consisting of 80 gongs; a set of Ghanaian drums, bells, and rattles from the Akan and Ewe ethnic groups; and a Vietnamese one-string zither, gifted in 1968 in memory of an American soldier killed in Vietnam.  The instruments are part of a working collection that is used in performance and community outreach, and for teaching and research.

The UCLA World Musical Instrument Collection (WMIC) is part of the Department of Ethnomusicology, one of the oldest, largest, and most highly regarded programs in the field in the US. Initiated in 1958 via a Rockefeller Foundation grant, the collection has grown to around 800 items, including large instrument sets from West Africa and several Asian countries, and smaller Native American, Latin American, and East European sets. Some instruments are used for performance classes, while others are display items of historical value. Central to our teaching and research mission for nearly 60 years, the WMIC is also accessible to the public. It features constantly in community outreach and public education programs, exposing innumerable people to musical cultures from around the world. We request funding for a general preservation assessment to identify ways to improve current care practices and conditions, and to help us draft a plan for the long-term care and sustainability of the WMIC.

Project fields:
Music History and Criticism

Preservation Assistance Grants

Preservation and Access

Total amounts:
$6,000 (approved)
$6,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
1/1/2017 – 6/30/2018