Bologna Musei – International Music Museum and Library

Strada Maggiore, 34

40126 – Bologna

051 2757711

The Civic Bibliographic and Music Museum, founded in 1959 to care for the Municipality of Bologna’s musical collections, changed its name to “International Museum and Library of Music” in 2004, in conjunction with the inauguration of the museum’s new premises at Palazzo Sanguinetti, in Bologna’s historic city centre.

The building was re-opened to the public after painstaking conservation efforts which restored to their former splendour the lavish interior frescos, which were painted between the late 18th and early 19th centuries and are among the finest example of the Napoleonic and Neoclassical era in Bologna.

The idea of opening a museum of music in Bologna arose not only to reiterate the importance of Bologna for the musical arts, but also to achieve several goals, the first and foremost of which consists of allowing the public at large to appreciate the city’s vast and varied musical heritage; this latter, due to different problems – especially the lack of adequate rooms – has long remained hidden away in warehouses, to be showcased only occasionally during temporary exhibitions.

The exhibits take up nine rooms and span about six centuries of European music, with over one hundred paintings, over eighty ancient musical instruments, and a wide selection of immensely valuable historical documents bequeathed by Father Giambattista Martini. The ground floor features a faithful replica of the workshop of the Bolognese luthier Otello Bignami.
In January 2013 the museum’s library also moved to Palazzo Sanguinetti, with well-equipped, differentiated reading rooms where visitors can consult the prestigious book collection, renowned for its printed music from the 16th to the 18th centuries, incunables, valuable manuscripts, opera librettos, and a unique collection of autographs and letters, fruit of the correspondence between Father Martini and scholars, musicians, and other eminent people of the time.
The museum is not merely a facility for preserving and valorising the city’s “conventional” musical heritage, but also a venue for cross-pollination, research, and promotion, by making its premises available for “fringe” cultural events existing outside traditional frameworks and museum channels.
The Museum of Music is thus an open, lively, multi-functional, and interactive venue for music fans and specialists, citizens and tourists, adults and children alike, with a single common denominator: music in all its forms and expressions.

The museum has a function hall, three educational workshops, a space for temporary exhibitions, and a bookshop.