While sharing their love and collection of old music-making devices, Rodney and Charlotte Pack noticed that children were fascinated with the old technology. Now they have announced that they will open the Music Makers Museum at their home in eastern Highland County sometime in the spring.
“Out of 200 children in the second through fourth grade from Greenfield, less than half knew what a cassette tape was,” Charlotte said Tuesday. “Forget anything beyond that.”
Charlotte said the whole process started about 25 years ago when the couple had an antique shop. She said Rodney purchased a phonograph, fixed it up and got it playing, then sold it. He was sorry he did, so he purchased another one and the couple has been collecting old recording devices ever since.
They have several different phonographs, a 1946 juke box, wire recorders, various radios, cassette players, eight-track tape players, record players, including one for people that read brail, vinyl records, tapes, iPods and all the technologies in between.
But Charlotte said it was children’s reaction that inspired the Packs to take their collection and create a museum to share with the general public.
“It’s machines, but it also kind of about the music culture and how people got to the point where they could actually record and listen to music,” Charlotte said.
She said they have a copy of the very first jazz record ever produced, one of the first country record that sold over one million copies and gave birth to the country music market, and a recording from Ada Jones, who Charlotte said was the first successful female recording artist, among other recordings.
“The Music Makers Museum explores the way America has listened and collected music,” Charlotte said. “Our mission is to preserve and share voices and technologies from America’s musical past. Special programming is geared toward inspiration, education and entertainment for audiences of all ages.”
For a preview of the museum, visit Music Makers Museum on Facebook or go to the website www.musicmakersmuseum.com that just went online last weekend.
The museum explores what technology people used to listen to music, where people listened to music, what music genre they listened to, and events in American history that affected music.
Charlotte said they were going to hold off announcing the museum until closer to its opening date, but she was able to secure a grant that allowed them last weekend to attend a GiveCamp event at Miami University where they received help setting up their new website. She said they were told at the event that they need to start letting people know about it now.
GiveCamp is a weekend-long event that brings together volunteers who donate their time and talents to provide web and software solutions for local non-profit organizations.
The Music Makers Museum’s mission is to make voices and technology from America’s musical past known. It carries out that mission through operating the museum. There will be special programming geared toward inspiration, education and entertainment for audiences of all ages.
The museum will be located at 11885 U.S. Route 50, east of Hillsboro. It will be open Thursday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. for the general public. Monday through Wednesday and after 5 p.m. will be reserved for group visits and special appointments.
There will be an admission fee of $10 for anyone over 5 years old, and $5 those 5 and under.
“What makes our museum unique is we are dedicated to how the average person listened and collected music,” Rodney said. “I don’t know of any other museum with this focus.”
For more information Charlotte can be contacted at 937-763-1864.
Reach Jeff Gilliland at 937-402-2522 or on Twitter @13gillilandj.