Ted Waflart only opens his large, eclectic collection of antique acoustic and mechanical musical instruments to groups of fifteen or more, but it’s worth assembling the crowd if you’re passing through Dale, Indiana.
A local physician, Waflart found his love of antique instruments after stumbling upon an old pump organ in a thrift store in 1973. He has been collecting ever since. As a former engineer, Waflart has the know-how to repair pieces that he picks up during his travels.
Today, Waflart’s collection contains instruments that date from the 1800s to the middle 1900s. He owns player pianos, gramophones, nickelodeons, orchestrations, street organs, music boxes, and an 18th-century serinette that was once used to teach birds how to sing beautiful songs, among other pieces. One of Waflart’s most popular items is a Decap Belgian Dance Organ built with 535 pipes that, despite measuring 12 feet by 24 feet, was once rolled from venue to venue. Waflart’s particular favorite is the Wurlitzer organ that was custom restored for him over ten years by the Stinson Organ Company from Ohio after sitting in a warehouse for three decades. Made for merry-go-rounds in the early 1900s, Waflart’s instrument plays alongside three carousel horses.
A member of the Music Box Society International, Dr. Ted attends yearly organ rallies with other antique music enthusiasts.
The museum’s gift shop sells CDs of music played by Waflart’s Wurlitzer.
Know Before You Go
Coming from southern Indiana: Take I-64 to Exit 57B/231 North. Go 1/2 mile before turning right on County Road 1200 South. From there, go 1/10 mile, turn left on old US 231. The museum will be on the right with free parking.