All is in perfect harmony at the Shrine to Music Museum in Vermillion,
South Dakota. Rivaling museums in Paris and Vienna, the shrine boasts
more than 7,500 musical instruments. Among them are a crocodile-shape
zither, African “talking drums,” a rare Stradivarius guitar, a Siamese
gong and zany corn horns of the 1930s. Spanning the globe and eons of
time, many music boxes are also found here.
How the shrine began is a story in itself. Founder Arne B. Larson, a
South Dakota high-school band director, sent tea and Spam to British
musicians impoverished by World War II. Crates of instruments arrived in
return. Audio tours with fascinating historical notes bring the
instruments to life.
The museum is open daily except Thanksgiving, Christmas and New
Year’s Day; admission is free. For details, call (605) 677-5306, or