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Our Collection

The National Music Centre Collection

No other place tells the stories of music in Canada quite like this.

Spanning over 450 years of music history and innovation, NMC’s collection is comprised of more than 2,000 pieces that help tell the stories of music in Canada. Our collection is the foundation for many programs offered at Studio Bell, and provides artists and visitors with unprecedented access to music history and technology. 

Many unique pieces from the collection can be found on display throughout Studio Bell, while our “living” collection provides visiting artists and artists in residence with access to more than 200 fully functional historic instruments maintained by NMC’s in-house technicians.

Learn About Our Living Collection


The NMC Collection consists primarily of cultural (human-made) objects and intellectual property related to music in Canada and is held in trust for the public. The collection is intended to serve as a foundation for:

  • The research, documentation, and preservation of music in Canada
  • The development of public education programs, public performances, and new music
  • The creation of partnerships across the Canadian musical spectrum

Our goal is to build a definitive collection of musical instruments and memorabilia across four key streams:

  • The five distinct regions of our country: Atlantic Canada, Quebec, Ontario, the West, and the North
  • Canada’s diverse cultures
  • Recognized Canadian icons—both people and objects
  • The evolution of music technology over time