Johnson Victrola Museum – Dover, Delaware - Atlas Obscura
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Dover, Delaware

Johnson Victrola Museum

Museum houses an impressive display of the origin and artistry from the now-quaint invention's history. 

Sometimes history looks just as interesting as it sounds. The curators of the Johnson Victrola Museum are acutely aware of this fact, and as a result have amassed an impressive collection of Victrolas and “talking machines” from the dawn of the 20th century, when they were invented.

Filled to bursting with records, programs, and various Victrola memorabilia, not to mention countless variations of the original record-playing machines themselves, with their hand-cranks and trademark funneled horns, the museum features a lot of what one would expect from a Victrola museum.

What’s unexpected, however, is the masterful adornment of the museum with enchantingly arranged Victrola horns decorated with vibrant and intricate patterns, shapes, and colors.

Visitors leave the museum with an entirely new appreciation for the diversity and artistry of Victrola design, usually previously unaware of just how ornate and beautiful the machines became, and how varied the decorations of the horns truly were, with as many designs as their owners could fathom, each one embodying the spirit and taste of its user.

Named after E.R. Johnson, who founded the Victrola Talking Machine Company in 1901, this Delaware museum is proud of the local man’s place in history and innovation, as are the many visitors who pass through its doors every day, hoping to catch a glimpse of something on the brink of being lost to the march of history.