National Music Museum Conceptual Relocation Plan
The National Music Museum: America’s Shrine to Music & Center for Study of the History of Musical Instruments (NMM) is a musical instrument museum located in Vermillion, South Dakota. A series of concept studies done in 2017 explored the potential to increase visitor participation and the visibility of the museum by relocating portions of the museum to Sioux Falls, South Dakota, South Dakota’s largest city and tourist destination.
The NMM’s renowned collections, which include more than 15,000 American, European, and non-Western instruments from all cultures and historical periods, are among the world’s most inclusive. The concept for the museum, combined with the site’s incredible natural and rugged context, harnesses the beauty and music of the site as a backdrop for telling the history of the man-made music and instrumentation that is choreographed inside the galleries. Gallery spaces for the instruments overlook the adjacent Big Sioux River and its cascading waterfalls, while the museum’s entrance and surrounding park carefully integrates with Sioux Falls’ vibrant downtown cultural district.
The museum’s form borrows from the quartzite rock formations that are common to Falls Park, left there 20,000 years ago during the last glacial recession. The museum entrance and outdoor park features an outdoor amphitheater where the public can enjoy the music being celebrated inside the museum, and a rooftop terrace celebrates the incredible environment and views of Falls Park as well. Inside the museum, beyond observing the instruments, visitors are encouraged to explore the instruments, their music, and how they have evolved. Indoor music venues reach out over the river, while educational venues and research, archive, and back-of-house facilities complete the program.
After consideration of a few alternatives for relocation, the Museum’s Board of Directors ultimately decided to expand its footprint at its current site.