Posted by .

Who would have thought that the most comprehensive musical instrument collection in the WORLD is at the University of South Dakota in Vermillion?! Despite its location far from any huge metropolitan hub, the National Music Museum (NMM) has attracted international attention and gained a wide fan base due to its vast collection of musical instruments.

Our first contact with the NMM was with museum director Cleveland Johnson, at the American Alliance of Museums Conference in early 2013. By June, a Lamcraft/NMM bookmark-creating relationship was in the works. Patricia Bornhofen, NMM’s Communications Manager, became our point person later in 2013 as we completed work on the bookmarks.

The first bookmark the museum commissioned us to create was a die-cut shape of the Amati “King” Cello, which is the oldest cello in existence. It is believed that it was built as early as 1538, originally with just three strings. Several centuries later, the “King” Cello was cut down in size. “Looking closely at the paintings on the back, one can see that wood was removed from the center, leaving the woman, representing ‘Justice,’ without a waist or left arm—and modernized by Sebastian Renault, a Parisian luthier (a maker of stringed instruments), in 1801.”

The second bookmark designed was the Goldfish Harmonica. This special harmonica is tin plated with gold lacquer and is just one of many great pieces from the Alan G. Bates Collection – all found at the National Music Museum. Again, using the outline of the image to inspire the shape of the bookmark, another die-cut was created in addition to the cello piece.

Over the past nine months, we have built a strong relationship with the National Music Museum and thoroughly enjoyed working with them throughout the bookmark design process. The rest, as they say, is history!

Interested in learning more about the National Music Museum? Visit their website at