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50th Anniversary Celebration of Dover, Del.’s Johnson Victrola Museum taking place in 2017

Written on: July 10th, 2017 in Events Museums News

-Programs on recording-industry inventors to be presented on Aug. 5 and 19, 2017-

The Johnson Victrola Museum, located at 375 S. New St. in Dover, Del., is celebrating its 50th anniversary with a series of programs that are taking place now through the end of 2017. The museum highlights the life and achievements of Dover’s native son, Eldridge Reeves Johnson, founder of The Victor Talking Machine Company. Through machines, trademarks, recordings, objects, paintings and advertisements, the museum showcases Johnson, his company and the development of the sound-recording industry. Constructed by the State of Delaware with an endowment provided by the Johnson family, it opened to the public on Dec. 14, 1967.

Displays at the Johnson Victrola Museum

Displays at the Johnson Victrola Museum

Several of the celebration’s programs and activities are organized according to the following themes: inventors and engineers who helped create the sound-recording industry; Nipper, the dog who adorns the Victor trademark, “His Masters Voice”; music recorded by Victor in support of the Allied effort in World War I; and Victor’s influential recordings in the genres of classical, country, jazz and operatic music.

On Aug. 5 and 19, 2017, the museum will feature “An Inventor’s Tale: From Tinfoil to the 78,” guided tours that explore the origins of recorded music from the earliest tinfoil phonographs of Thomas Edison to the Victrola of Eldridge Reeves Johnson’s Victor Talking Machine Company while discovering the brilliant inventors and engineers who took recorded music from a novelty to a daily part of life. The programs will both be accompanied by 78-rpm records played on authentic Victor Talking Machines.

Victor Talking Machine

Victor Talking Machine

A schedule of activities for the Johnson Victrola Museum’s 50th Anniversary Celebration is included below. All programs are free and open to the public.

Johnson Victrola Museum 50th Anniversary Celebration events

Saturday, Aug. 5, 2017
“An Inventor’s Tale.” Guided tours, entitled “From Tinfoil to the 78,” explore the origins of recorded music from the earliest tinfoil phonographs of Thomas Edison to the Victrola of Eldridge Reeves Johnson’s Victor Talking Machine Company while discovering the brilliant inventors and engineers who took recorded music from a novelty to a daily part of life. Accompanied by 78-rpm records played on authentic Victor Talking Machines. First Saturday in the First State program. Johnson Victrola Museum, 375 S. New St., Dover. 9 a.m.–4:30 p.m. 302-739-3262.

Eldridge Reeves Johnson

Eldridge Reeves Johnson

Saturday, Aug. 19, 2017
“An Inventor’s Tale.” Guided tours, entitled “From Tinfoil to the 78,” explore the origins of recorded music from the earliest tinfoil phonographs of Thomas Edison to the Victrola of Eldridge Reeves Johnson’s Victor Talking Machine Company while discovering the brilliant inventors and engineers who took recorded music from a novelty to a daily part of life. Accompanied by 78-rpm records played on authentic Victor Talking Machines. Johnson Victrola Museum, 375 S. New St., Dover. 9 a.m.–4:30 p.m. 302-739-3262.

Saturday, Sept. 2, 2017
“A Dog’s Tale.” Guided tours, entitled “Man’s Best Friend,” explore one of the most celebrated canines in the world—Nipper, the dog who adorns the Victor trademark, “His Masters Voice.” Programs will be accompanied by 78-rpm records played on authentic Victor Talking Machines. First Saturday in the First State program. Johnson Victrola Museum, 375 S. New St., Dover. 9 a.m.–4:30 p.m. 302-739-3262.

Victor Talking Machine Company trademark featuring “Nipper”

Victor Talking Machine Company trademark featuring “Nipper”

Monday, Sept. 4, 2017
“A Dog’s Tale.” Guided tours, entitled “Man’s Best Friend,” explore one of the most celebrated canines in the world—Nipper, the dog who adorns the Victor trademark, “His Masters Voice.” Programs will be accompanied by 78-rpm records played on authentic Victor Talking Machines. Johnson Victrola Museum, 375 S. New St., Dover. 9 a.m.–4:30 p.m. 302-739-3262.

Saturday, Sept. 16, 23 and 30, 2017
“Johnson Victrola Museum’s 50th Anniversary Celebration.” Guided tours explore the museum and its collections during the golden anniversary of its creation in 1967, accompanied by 78-rpm records played on authentic Victor Talking Machines. Johnson Victrola Museum, 375 S. New St., Dover. 9 a.m.–4:30 p.m. 302-739-3262.

Saturday, Oct. 7, 2017
“A Diva’s Tale.” Program at 2:30 p.m.—“From Prima Donnas to Divas: A Victor Creation”—examines the talented female vocalists of the Victor Talking Machine Company and how they paved the way for the divas of today, accompanied by 78-rpm recordings of those artists played on authentic Victor Talking Machines. First Saturday in the First State program. Johnson Victrola Museum, 375 S. New St., Dover. Museum open 9 a.m.–4:30 p.m. 302-739-3262.

Monday, Oct. 9, 2017
“Johnson Victrola Museum’s 50th Anniversary Celebration.” Guided tours explore the museum and its collections during the golden anniversary of its creation in 1967, accompanied by 78-rpm records played on authentic Victor Talking Machines. Johnson Victrola Museum, 375 S. New St., Dover. 9 a.m.–4:30 p.m. 302-739-3262.

Saturday, Nov. 4, 2017
“A Classical Tale.” Guided tours, entitled “Some Like Classical,” explore some of Victor Records’ earliest recordings of classical music accompanied by 78-rpm records played on authentic Victor Talking Machines. First Saturday in the First State program. Johnson Victrola Museum, 375 S. New St., Dover. 9 a.m.–4:30 p.m. 302-739-3262.

Saturday, Nov. 11, 2017
“A Soldier’s Tale.” Guided tours, entitled “The Victors of World War I: The Power of Music,” examine music’s influence during World War I when patriotic songs were being composed throughout America, accompanied by 78-rpm records played on authentic Victor Talking Machines. Johnson Victrola Museum, 375 S. New St., Dover. 9 a.m.–4:30 p.m. 302-739-3262.

“Over There,” recorded by Victor Records, was a patriotic hit during World War I.

“Over There,” recorded by Victor Records, was a patriotic hit during World War I.

Friday, Nov. 24, 2017
“Johnson Victrola Museum’s 50th Anniversary Celebration.” Guided tours explore the museum and its collections during the golden anniversary of its creation in 1967, accompanied by 78-rpm records played on authentic Victor Talking Machines. Johnson Victrola Museum, 375 S. New St., Dover. 9 a.m.–4:30 p.m. 302-739-3262.

Saturday, Dec. 2, 2017
“Johnson Victrola Museum’s 50th Anniversary Celebration: A Country Tale.” Program, “Play That Old-Time Country Music,” explores Victor Records’ early recordings of country music, accompanied by 78-rpm records played on authentic Victor Talking Machines. First Saturday in the First State program. Johnson Victrola Museum, 375 S. New St., Dover. Programs at 11 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. in the museum’s 2nd floor gallery (entry via staircase; no elevator). Museum open 9 a.m.–4:30 p.m. Free admission but, due to space restrictions, reservations are required for the programs by calling 302-739-3262.

Horn display at the Johnson Victrola Museum

Horn display at the Johnson Victrola Museum

Johnson Victrola Museum 50th Anniversary Celebration completed events

Saturday July 1, 2017
Johnson Victrola Museum’s 50th Anniversary Celebration: A Marching Band’s Tale. In observance of Independence Day, the museum will present “John Philip Sousa: Stars and Stripes,” guided tours that explore patriotic music recorded by John Philip Sousa and other Victor artists accompanied by 78-rpm records played on authentic Victor Talking Machines. First Saturday in the First State program. Johnson Victrola Museum, 375 S. New St., Dover. 9 a.m.–4:30 p.m. 302-739-3262.

John Philip Sousa

John Philip Sousa

Tuesday, July 4, 2017
Johnson Victrola Museum’s 50th Anniversary Celebration: A Marching Band’s Tale. In observance of Independence Day, the museum will present “John Philip Sousa: Stars and Stripes,” guided tours that explore patriotic music recorded by John Philip Sousa and other Victor artists accompanied by 78-rpm records played on authentic Victor Talking Machines. Part of a series of programs celebrating the museum’s creation in 1967. Johnson Victrola Museum, 375 S. New St., Dover. 9 a.m.–4:30 p.m. Free admission. 302-739-3262.

Friday, July 14, 2017
“The Golden Age of Jazz.” Screenings of Ken Burns’ documentary “Jazz.” Episode one, “Gumbo,” at 10:30 a.m. Episode two, “The Gift,” at Noon. Episode three, “Our Language,” at 2 p.m. Episode four, “The True Welcome,” at 4 p.m. Episode five, “Pure Pleasure,” at 6 p.m. Dover Public Library, 35 Loockerman Plaza, Dover. 302-736-7030.

Friday, July 14, 2017
“A Jazz Tale.” Lecture at 11 a.m.—“Duke Ellington and Rosedale Beach”—explores the history of the popular waterfront resort run by, and for, people of color which featured internationally renowned performers. Lecture at 1 p.m.—“Fats Waller”—explores the life and achievements of the noted jazz musician, accompanied by 78-rpm recordings played on authentic Victor Talking Machines. Johnson Victrola Museum, 375 S. New St., Dover. Lectures in the museum’s 2nd floor gallery (entry via staircase; no elevator). Free admission but, due to space restrictions, reservations are required for the lectures by calling 302-739-3262. Museum also open 9 a.m.–4:30 p.m. featuring tours exploring the history of jazz.

Saturday, July 15, 2017
“The Golden Age of Jazz.” Screening of the following jazz-themed films: “Jazz on a Summer’s Day” about the 1958 Newport Jazz Festival at 10:30 a.m. Episode six, “Swing, the Victory of Celebration,” from Ken Burns’ documentary “Jazz” at 10:30 a.m. “Let’s Get Lost” about trumpeter Chet Baker at Noon.  Episode seven, “Dedicated to Chaos,” from Burns’ “Jazz” at 12:30 p.m. Spike Lee’s “Mo’ Better Blues” at 2 p.m. Episode eight, “Risk,” from Burns’ “Jazz” at 2:30 p.m. Dover Public Library, 35 Loockerman Plaza, Dover. 302-736-7030.

Saturday, July 15, 2017
“A Jazz Tale.” Lecture at 11 a.m.—“All That Jazz”— explores the origins of jazz music, its early pioneers and the contributions made to the art form by Victor Records, accompanied by 78-rpm recordings played on authentic Victor Talking Machines. At 1 p.m. a musical ensemble from DonDel Enterprises will present “All That Jazz: From the Beginning” featuring songs and dances from the early days of jazz that have been adored for the last 100 years. Johnson Victrola Museum, 375 S. New St., Dover. Lecture and performance in the museum’s 2nd floor gallery (entry via staircase; no elevator). Free admission but, due to space restrictions, reservations are required for the special programs by calling 302-739-3262. Museum also open 9 a.m.–4:30 p.m. featuring tours exploring the history of jazz.

Sunday, July 16, 2017
“The Golden Age of Jazz.” Screening of the following jazz-themed films: Episode nine, “The Adventure,” from Ken Burns’ documentary “Jazz” at 1 p.m. “What Happened, Miss Simone?” about singer Nina Simone at 1:30 p.m. Episode 10, “A Masterpiece at Midnight,” from Burns’ “Jazz” at 3 p.m. “Miles Ahead” about trumpeter Miles Davis at 3:15 p.m. Dover Public Library, 35 Loockerman Plaza, Dover. 302-736-7030.


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