DeBence Antique Music World to celebrate 2 anniversaries

On Saturday, the DeBence Antique Music World in Franklin will mark not one, but two anniversaries, and is inviting the community to come celebrate.

The museum on Liberty Street will hold a free oral history talk at noon Saturday to celebrate its 30/60 anniversary in the Franklin community.

“We would love it if people bring memories and stories to share,” said DeBence director Cassady Calder. “Anyone is welcome to come.”

DeBence will celebrate its 30-year anniversary in downtown Franklin as the museum opened in 1994 in the old G.C. Murphy five-and-dime store building.

But the museum had been in the area for 30 years before that since Jake and Elizabeth DeBence moved to Franklin with their collection in 1964, so it is overall the museum’s 60-year anniversary in Franklin.

The museum houses a world-class collection of musical instruments and music technology, from traditional instruments such as guitars, harmonicas and accordions, to music playing technology such as gramophones, radios and jukeboxes, to larger pieces that play multiple instruments at once such as nickelodeons and orchestrions.

Calder said that at the oral history talk speakers will tell stories of their experiences with the DeBences, the collection, the museum and other topics.

After the talk, refreshments will be provided as well as the opportunity for more discussions.

American Alliance of Museums

The museum has more big news as it was recently selected to be part of a cohort of museums to participate in the American Alliance of Museums’ (AAM) 2024 Museum Assessment Program (MAP).

Founded in 1906, AAM represents the entire museum field from art and history museums to science centers and zoos.

It advocates for museums and provides museum professionals with the resources, knowledge, inspiration and connections they need to move the field forward.

Since its inception in 1981, MAP has helped more than 5,000 small and mid-sized museums of all types strengthen operations, plan for the future and meet standards.

To participate in the Museum Assessment Program, museums choose from one of four institutional assessment types — organizational, collections stewardship, education and interpretation, or community and audience engagement.

The DeBence will be assessed on collections stewardship to improve its collections care and ensure the instruments in its care will live on for generations to enjoy.

MAP is supported through a cooperative agreement between the Institute of Museum and Library Services and the AAM.