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Early History: 1900–1960
Established in 1900, when Morris Steinert presented to Yale his collection consisting chiefly of keyboard instruments, the Collection grew slowly for over half a century largely through donations from alumni.
Major Acquisitions & New Location: 1960–1970
The acquisition of the Belle Skinner Collection (1960) and the Emil Herrmann Collection (1962) established the position of the Yale Collection as one of the world’s most important repositories of musical instruments, and confirmed its character as a “collection of superlatives,” as an enthusiastic admirer of the Skinner collection once put it. In 1961 the Collection was moved from its original location under the dome of Woolsey Hall to its present location in a Richardsonian Romanesque building at 15 Hillhouse Avenue.
More Recent Developments: 1970 to the present
Since 1970 the Collection has nearly trebled in size, today comprising nearly one thousand instruments, the majority of which document the history of Western art music.