Piano 300: Celebrating Three Centuries of People and Pianos

March 9, 2000 – October 21, 2001

S. Dillon Ripley Center
1100 Jefferson Drive, SW
Washington, DC

International Gallery, Sublevel 3

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To commemorate the 300th anniversary of the piano, invented circa 1700 by Bartolomeo Cristofori (1655-1732), this exhibition examines the influence of the piano and highlights the American History Museum's distinguished collection. On view are almost two dozen instruments from the museum's collection; manuscripts by such composers as Mozart, Chopin, Liszt, Gershwin, and Ellington; tools; photographs; play bills; sheet music; and other memorabilia.

Highlights include:

  • a grand piano by Bartolomeo Cristofori, Florence, Italy, 1722—one of three extant instruments by the inventor—on loan from the Museo degli Strumenti Musicali, Rome
  • a square piano by Chickering and Sons, Boston, 1850
  • Paderewski's grand piano by Steinway & Sons, New York, 1892
  • Irving Berlin's upright Transposing Piano by Weber, New York, 1940
  • Liberace's grand piano by Baldwin, Cincinnati, 1984
  • an Erard grand piano presented to Prince Albert by Queen Victoria
  • Video Theater; runs continuously
  • 2 Listening Stations