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Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Bayernhof Music Museum

This eccentric mansion museum holds a impressive collection of rare and automatic instruments. 

A lighting executive’s Bavarian-inspired mansion in the north of Pittsburgh has become a museum hosting his rare collection of automatic musical instruments.

Charles B. “Chuck” Brown III collected antique automatic musical instrument players, early jukeboxes, phonographs, and music boxes. When he died in 1999, he willed that his mansion become a museum to show his eclectic collection to the public, opening in 2004. Bayernhof Museum now offers pre-arranged guided tours for interested visitors. Among the highlights of the tour are “reproducing pianos,” which work similar to a player piano but captured closely how the artist played the composition in tempo and volume. Some of the 150 instruments are played for tours, including a Wurlitzer 125 Military Band Organ meant for outdoor use, and thus sounding very loud even when played in a spacious room. The museum’s curator, Tony Marisco, maintains the instruments in working order.

The mansion also contains secret passages, a gigantic pool surrounded with greenery, and a wine cellar made to look like a cave. Throughout the mansion-now-museum, Chuck’s eclectic tastes come through in every knickknack and chord played through its halls.