Conduct Research

NOTE: Due to the NMM's expansion project (read more about this exciting project here!) we are not currently able to address research inquiries.

The National Music Museum may grant access to its instrument collections to researchers, students, performers, instrument builders, and other interested individuals. Anyone desiring to conduct research at the NMM must make an appointment at least two weeks in advance by completing the form, Request for Permission to Conduct Research at the NMM. This allows time for staff scheduling and instruments to be moved, if necessary.

Requests to make use of the NMM’s resources will be handled on a case-by-case basis. The Senior Curator, with input from the curatorial staff, has the authority to approve access to the NMM’s instrument collections and collection records. The NMM reserves the right to require contractual agreements for compensation of staff time, use of equipment, etc.

The NMM will evaluate requests for access on the following criteria:

  1. The request is consistent with the mission of the NMM.
  2. The request respects the physical integrity of the objects and/or archives and associated collection or archival information.
  3. The degree to which the NMM’s staff and facilities can accommodate the request.
  4. The person requesting access is qualified and competent to conduct research as demonstrated by professional training and experience, affiliation with peer institutions, publications, references, etc.

The NMM’s internal documents such as donor information, appraisals, purchase price, insurance, and any other sensitive material are not part of the public archives and therefore are restricted.

Instruments may not be handled except under the supervision of NMM staff. Measuring tools must be approved by a member of the NMM Curatorial Team. Instruments that have already been measured will not be measured again unless there are compelling reasons to do so. No instrument may be played or disassembled without permission of a member of the NMM Curatorial Team.

Copies of all technical data accumulated during a research visit must be left with the NMM at the conclusion of the visit and will be considered part of the instrument’s public documentation. A copy of any published information based on the collection or its associated information must be given to the NMM for deposit in its archives. Prior to their visit, researchers must acquaint themselves with the NMM’s Access to the Musical Instruments, and Guidelines for Patrons Using the Library and/or the Sally Fantle Archival Research Center at the NMM.

Any use of the NMM’s collections and data in publications must be appropriately acknowledged and credited. The NMM does not warrant or guarantee the accuracy of collection information.

To ensure the most efficient use of the NMM's collections for research purposes, the following additional guidelines apply:

  • Individuals who want to visit the public exhibits are invited to do so, whenever the NMM is open.
  • Individuals who need to study specific instruments or consult archival resources (including instrument files) may do so on weekdays, but must make an appointment in advance. Please submit a completed Request for Permission to Conduct Research at the NMM.
  • Instruments on exhibit may not be moved, nor cases opened, during public hours. Individuals needing to examine such instruments must make an advance appointment so that the instruments can be removed from the exhibit and be made available for study. Instruments on exhibit will be removed only for compelling reasons.
  • Access to instrument study-storage areas may be granted for research purposes. A member of the NMM staff must supervise students and visiting researchers in the study-storage areas.
  • Only a small number of people can be accommodated at one time in the study-storage areas. Do not bring unexpected guests. Children are not allowed in the study-storage areas or conservation laboratory.
  • A member of the staff must be present at all times when visitors are in the research areas. Instruments may not be handled, except under the supervision of a member of the Curatorial Team. 
  • No instrument may be played or disassembled except with permission of a member of the Curatorial Team. 
  • For environmental and security reasons, instruments may not be removed from designated areas. Due to staff limitations, the time a visitor may spend in the study-storage areas may be limited.
  • Within limits imposed by safety and security regulations, staff size and availability, the NMM will accommodate as many requests as possible. Infractions of regulations will result in the revocation of research privileges.

These regulations are subject to change at the discretion of the Director and/or Senior Curator.

Sampling

The purpose of any sampling must be in keeping with the NMM’s mission. Requests for sampling must be provided in writing with a sufficient level of detail to allow the Curatorial Team to evaluate the merits of the proposal.

The criteria used for approval:

  1. The sampling will not compromise the future utility of the object
  2. There are no alternative means of obtaining the needed data
  3. The expected information gain justifies the sampling
  4. The competence of the researcher making the request is demonstrated through professional training, affiliation with another institution, references, etc.

Guidelines for Access to the NMM Library

The National Music Museum may grant access to its specialized research Library to researchers, students, performers, instrument builders, and other interested individuals. Anyone desiring to conduct research in the NMM Library must make an appointment at least two weeks in advance by completing the Request for Permission to Conduct Research at the NMM. This allows time for staff scheduling and room reservation.

To make the most efficient use of the NMM's Library for research purposes, the following additional guidelines apply:

  • Only a small number of people can be accommodated at one time in the NMM library. Please do not bring unexpected guests. Children are not allowed in the library.
  • The NMM's library holdings are cataloged through the University of South Dakota Library.
  • The NMM library's holdings are not available for circulation or Interlibrary Loan, they can be examined on-site and accessed through the University's online catalog. 
  • Excerpts from library materials may be photocopied, at the rates cited on the NMM's fee schedule. The NMM reserves the right to restrict or deny the photocopying of rare and fragile materials.
  • Researchers should acquaint themselves with the following document prior to their visit: Guidelines for Patrons Using the Sally Fantle Archival Research Center at the NMM.

These regulations are subject to change at the discretion of the Director and/or Senior Curator.

Access to the Sally Fantle Archival Research Center

The National Music Museum may grant access to its Archives to researchers, students, performers, instrument builders, and other interested individuals. Anyone desiring to conduct research in the Sally Fantle Archival Research Center (SFARC) must make an appointment at least two weeks in advance by completing the Request for Permission to Conduct Research Form.

In order to make the most efficient use of the NMM's Archives for research purposes, the following additional guidelines have been established:

  • Only a small number of people can be accommodated at one time in the SFARC. Please do not bring unexpected guests. Children are not allowed in the SFARC.
  • Utilization of the SFARC for educational purposes is strongly encouraged, but utilization of the SFARC for commercial purposes and/or for personal gain, without specific written permission of the Director of the NMM, is forbidden.
  • Researchers should acquaint themselves with the following document prior to their visit: Guidelines for Patrons Using the Library and/or the Sally Fantle Archival Research Center at the NMM.

These regulations are subject to change at the discretion of the Director and/or Senior Curator.