STARKVILLE, Miss. (WCBI) – Most Mississippi State University students know where Mitchell Memorial Library is. But few students, much less the rest of Northeast Mississippi, know what’s hidden on its fourth floor. This week, it’s bustling with activity getting ready for a very special event.
It all makes the Charles Templeton Music Museum one of the region’s “Hidden Treasures.”
For a generation that grew up with boom boxes and i-Tunes, it’s almost pre-historic. For their parents, grandparents and great grandparents, it’s a a walk down memory lane.
“We have Thomas Edison pieces, we have Victor gramophones, and they range from the late 1800s to the mid 1900s. There is a wide variety of music boxes as well as player pianos, and even a Link Automatic Piano,” said Stephen Cunetto, Administrator of Systems for MSU Libraries.
The collection was donated to MSU in 1986 by Charles Templeton, Sr. His first piece was a Victor gramophone he bought for his wife at an antique store. Over 40 years Templeton collected 22,000 pieces of sheet music, 13,000 recordings, and 200 musical instruments, all showcased in MSU’s Mitchell Memorial Library. Visitors are always welcome to tour the free museum. Guides will even demonstrate the instruments.
“It’s a great opportunity for people to see how music and music instruments have evolved over time. It’s great to see the students come in here and see the collection and it’s great to see their faces as they explore the instruments,” said Cunetto.
Friday and Saturday the museum will be full of visitors for the 7th annual Templeton Ragtime Jazz Festival. During the two-day event, visitors can hear from four different performers in evening concerts, and visit the museum for lectures and silent films during the day. Organizers say it’s great for those interested in music, history and art.
“Every year I think we get more and more participants, not only from the local community, but from around the country. More and more people from outside the state come to the festival, and we’re very excited about that,” Cunetto said.
The museum is free and open for tours Monday through Friday 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
The festival concerts begin at 7:30 p.m. both Friday and Saturday in McComas Hall. Day activities begin at 9:00 a.m. Tickets are available in advance or at the door. Students are free. For more information visit: http://library.msstate.edu/ragtime/festival/ or call (662) 325-6634.