The Met

At Home at the Metropolitan Museum of Art—a Hutchins Violin Octet and One Lucky Research Fellow

In late 1988, Carleen Hutchins donated a Violin Octet to the Metropolitan Museum of Art to honor the 100th Anniversary of the Crosby Brown Musical Instruments Collection.

The first exhibition of the Hutchins Violin Octet went on display in the spring of 1989, running March through July of that year.

A decade later, a change in administration of the galleries brought the Hutchins Violin Octet out from the catacombs once again—when museum curators asked Hutchins to examine the octet violins for analysis of repairs necessary to put the octet on exhibit.

The Fiddles on Exhibit chapter in American Luthier chronicles the day in October, 1999, when Whitney accompanied Hutchins on her return visit to the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Two years later, on May 10, 2002, a new exhibition The New Violin Family—Augmenting the String Section, opened upstairs in the musical instruments galleries at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The exhibition was set to run until March 30, 2003. Instead, it ran until October 24, 2005, making it one of the longest-running exhibitions in museum history. According to museum instrument technician Joe Peknik, the department curators later estimated that more than a million people saw this exhibit (shown in the slide above.)

During that time, the Metropolitan Museum of Art awarded Quincy Whitney two six-month Research Fellowships in the Musical Instruments Department—from 2004-2006. Without this support from the Museum, Whitney could never have completed the research and writing of American Luthier. In the spring of 2005 and 2006, Whitney presented two different lectures about Hutchins at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in conjunction with The Museum Research Fellowship Program.

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