What is MINIM-UK?

The project aims to provide a new online database of historic instruments that will allow the public to find out about 20,000 individual instruments held in more than 100 musical instrument collections in the UK.

How is the project supported?

The project is led by the Royal College of Music, in a partnership with the Royal Academy of Music, the Horniman Museum and Gardens, and the University of Edinburgh. It has received support from both the Higher Education Funding Council for England Catalyst fund, and the Google Cultural Institute, which works to digitally preserve important cultural materials internationally.

How do i find instruments?

There are many ways to explore and find instruments using MINIM-UK:

  • Use the “Search for instruments” box at the top of the page.
  • To look for instruments in a particular collection, select “Browse by collection” at the top of the page, or use the map function on the home page.
  • To look for a a particular instrument type, select “Browse by instrument family” at the top of the page.
I own a private collection of instruments, can I add them to the website?

The scope of the project includes public collections only. However, we are exploring options for user-contributed content.

How are musical instruments classified on MINIM-UK?

The MIMO classification, developed by the Musical Instrument Museums Online project, provides the terminology tree used to classify different types of musical instrument. It prescribes an authority for instrument types and names, and for the scientific Hornbostel-Sachs classification.

I think information about a collection or instrument is missing or incorrect, how do I tell you?

Please contact us to get in touch with comments and corrections.

I work for a museum which has musical instruments, can you provide any advice on their care and display?

MINIM-UK retains strong links with the community of musical instruments collections. See our Resources area for useful contacts and information.

Are all of the UK’s musical instrument collections on MINIM-UK?

No. At the commencement of the project, it was believed that approximately 100 collections in the UK held musical instruments. Project research indicated this number is actually much higher, at over 300 collections. The venues present are those for which data collection has been possible during the initial project phase. It is hoped that more collections can be added to MINIM-UK in the future.

Why can’t I hear all the instruments?

Instruments held in museums may have a degree of wear, damage, or material degradation which means they cannot be played, or that playing them would risk causing further damage to the instrument. As part of the duty of care for objects held in museums, collections work to ensure that these objects can still be studied and viewed, if not heard. You can find instruments to see and hear being played using the ‘Explore all audio/video’ function on the front page.

Can I re-use the data on MINIM-UK?

The majority of instrument records on MINIM-UK are provided under a Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal agreement, except where indicated in the “Credits/source” of a record, or by the credit line given for an image, indicated by selecting the icon. Records harvested via open data endpoints such as the Science Museum API may have stricter agreements regarding re-use of information, therefore if a credit line is provided for a record or image, users must ensure to include these in any re-use of the information, and should cite the original collection.

Can I get a larger/more detailed image of an instrument?

Please contact the contributing collection if you wish to access a high-resolution image.