The musical instrument tower, designed by Jean Nouvel, is a centrepiece of the building’s architecture, like an open window to the various behind-the-scenes parts of the museum, where the musical instrument collection is housed.
The musical instrument tower
A priceless musical heritage
The tower showcases the 10,000 instruments conserved on 6 levels, and highlights the central importance of the collection. This heritage, which reflects the diversity of different cultures and their musical practices, is not immune to the wears of time. The fragility of the materials jeopardises the durability of certain rare and precious pieces, some of which are several centuries old. Lute from West Timor, drum from Tahiti, vielle from Syria, xylophone from Bali…
Turn up the volume!
A crowfunding campaign to restore the musical instrument collection
From 25 March to 23 June 2019, the musée du quai Branly – Jacques Chirac called on the general public to help safeguard its musical instruments. A campaign that raised over €66,000! As of autumn 2019, the most vulnerable pieces were transferred on a priority basis to the museum’s workshops for restoration. 130 particularly fragile instruments are currently undergoing restoration.
Beyond the need to preserve the physical integrity of the works from the onslaughts of time, this restoration campaign aims to return the instruments’ musicality. Turn up the volume! will provide an opportunity to hear this world orchestra chime, beat and pipe. An exceptional concert played on the restored instruments will be scheduled at the museum in 2021.
This restoration campaign is also supported by Crédit Agricole d'Ile-de-France Mécénat, the Orange Foundation, the Fondation Gandur pour l'Art and the Fondation François Sommer.
The entire patronage team at the musée du quai Branly - Jacques Chirac would like to extend its warmest thanks for your commitment and your many messages of support.
The musical instrument tower re-orchestrated!
Remodelling works from April 2019 to early 2020
Major works have been undertaken to improve the conditions under which the works are conserved and handled. A vast restoration programme concerning around one hundred works was also undertaken during the same period.
Le projet en chiffres
- 24 metres: height of the instrument tower
- 16 metres: diameter of the instrument tower
- 700m²: surface of the reserve collections visible
- 10,000: instruments conserved in the tower (around 3,850 from Africa, 2,600 from Asia, 2,450 from America including 900 pre-Hispanic pieces, 600 instruments from Oceania and 500 from Insulindia)
- 4: instrument families: aerophone, chordophone, membranophone and idiophone
The works were launched following studies carried out by the museum’s Conservation-Restoration Centre and Collections Management team. The aim was to improve the conservation conditions of the works on the one hand (reduced fire risk, anti-dust measures, improved climatic conditions), and to improve the conditions for handling the pieces on the other hand (improved flow, adapted lighting, redesign of work stations, etc.).