Travelling exhibition „On the tip of every tongue“
31.01. - 30.06. Willisau


Not long ago, the harmonica was really on the tip of every tongue. In the mid-20's the German manufacturers exported 50 million mouth organs per year all over the world. Into the 1950's, the harmonica remained an evocative sound of the era. Even today these sounds are inseparable from Tango, Blues, Musette, and many other musical styles. Harmonicas and accordions are justifiably considered the most popular instruments in the history of the musical instrument industry. The harmonica, with its appealing packaging, reflects the spirit of its age more potently than any other product.

The German Harmonica Museum maintains a unique collection centred on this musical theme, and its associated cultural history. The travelling exhibition "on the tip of every tongue" offers a cross-section of this unrivalled collection.

The individual modules of this exhibition can be adjusted to the requirements of each venue, with a minimum viewing area of about 150m², standard lighting and power supply for electrical appliances.

This popular theme was ingeniously treated by two young exhibition designers, in the creation of "on the tip of every tongue". The active participation of visitors is central to the design of this exhibition. This makes it possible for each visitor to choose, for example, their own favourite style of music in the audio examples.

The installations include around 700 harmonicas and accordions from as early as 1850, through to the present day. This includes, of course, the Chinese Sheng, the great grandfather of the harmonica. The exhibition also incorporates many historic sound archives, film documentaries and photographs, which charmingly illustrate the instrument's story. The modules are supplied in collapsible boxes, which are decorated with pictures and explanatory text for display purposes. General information, including the mostimportant dates in harmonica history, along with, many images, is provided on a big poster. Special stations offer film and sound documentaries from the 1930's until today, and momentous special-interest displays: e.g. the first musical instrument in outer space (with authentic sound: Walter Schirra, Captain of Gemini VI, playing „Jingle Bells“ in outer space).

The travelling exhibition has been successfully toured since October 2000. Visitor and media feedback has been extremely positive. It has also received considerable television coverage since its founding.

More information regarding our unique cultural and historic collection, and the permanent exhibition in Trossingen, Germany, can be found in the provided Museum Prospect.