Most of us know what to do, and what not to do when visiting a collection. Although we may own similar pieces, some instruments can be unique in the way they operate.  Of course there can be various stages of restoration or operating order so remember these common-sense rules when visiting collections:

  • Always ask the host if photographs or video may be taken.  If you intend to publish these photographs/videos, please get the host’s permission to do so and ask whether the host wants the collection identified.
  • Do not smoke inside the home and ask permission to smoke outside the home on the owner’s property.
  • Never bring food or drink near any of the instruments.
  • “Hands Off” is the best policy and beware of belt buckles and other objects that could cause damage.
  • Do not play any instrument unless given permission by the host to do so. It is always best if the host turns on the instrument — some of them can be pretty finicky.
  • Never try to adjust or repair an instrument unless asked to do so by the host.
  • Do not ask the host or instrument owner the value of an instrument or how much it would cost to purchase one.  Several mechanical music dealers are listed on the MBSI web site and they could be contacted for guidance about a particular instrument.
  • Unless an instrument is marked “For Sale” don’t ask the host if a particular instrument can be purchased.  After attending a meeting, please send a note of appreciation. In the note you could express admiration for a particular instrument and advise the host of your potential interest should it ever become available. 
  • Meeting hosts generously open their homes and collections to members.  Be sure to introduce yourself to them and sign any guest book. Thank the hosts when you leave and a thank you note would be most welcome.
  • When instruments are being played, please refrain from talking.  This is especially true when softly voiced instruments (such as musical boxes, bird boxes, etc.) are being played.