Help Us Bring

Musical History

To life

Check Out These Locations to Hear Historical Music Machines

Music Hall

Music Hall

Nevada City, Montana, features one of the world's largest music collections.

Gypsy Arcade

Gypsy Arcade

The Gypsy Arcades offers you a unique view of what games used to look like in the 18-century

Opera House

Opera House

No trip to Virginia City is complete without watching a family-friendly play featured every year.

Things To Do While You Are Here

There is something for everyone at Virginia City. Let your kids enjoy the games in the Gypsy Arcade while parents enjoy a cocktail at the authentic Bale of Hay Bar. While the whole family gets to experience what life was like in the 18-century.

  • Historical Re-enactments
  • Ghost Tours
  • Dances
  • Car Shows
  • Town Celebrations
  • And More…

Check Out Some of Our Famous Instruments

By clicking on the image you are able to learn the history of each piece. You can also listen to an audio file of some of the pieces.

Click the image for more information on the piece!

Cremona Photoplayer

Location: Opera House

Wurlitzer Harp

Location: Music Hall

Molinari Barrel Piano

Location: Molinari Building

Verbal Fortune Teller

Location: Gypsy Arcade

Gavioli 89 Key Band Organ

Location: Music Hall

Want More Music Machines? Don't Worry There is More!

About the Music Collection

The remarkable collections at Virginia City, MT, and Nevada City, MT are as crucial to the history of the entire Western United States as they are to the history of Montana. The fact that Virginia City has remained a viable community and never became an abandoned “ghost town” means that its artifacts from many periods-not just the 1860s-have unusual historical importance.

It is well known that a historic site or museum must have “life” to attract visitors and repeatedly bring them back. Virginia City, MT, and Nevada City, MT have several unique attractions that have brought people from around the world every year. Friends and families are excited to see what new live programs will be showing at the Opera House and the Brewery Follies, and they can’t wait to put another quarter in their favorite music machine.

Music machines represent a completely different type of antique (or near-antique) from museum-caliber paintings and other artworks. These instruments were made for public entertainment and were meant to be used. Coin pianos, orchestrions, and band organs are extremely durable “overbuilt,” in contrast to today’s throw-away subminiature electronic devices and other conveniences. To the extent that if properly maintained, they will still be capable of entertaining people for hundreds of years.

The instruments displayed at Virginia and Nevada Cities have been known as one of the United States’ most important collections, it has attracted visitors from all over the country since the 1950s.

In the 1950s, each part of the country had a significant publicly displayed, privately­ owned collection of music machines. Most of today’s private collectors, historians, and enthusiasts first became interested when they saw and heard instruments in public displays. This interest continued until private collectors bought most of the instruments which used to be displayed publicly. Consequently, most music machines are now in private collections where younger generations can no longer see them.

If this trend continues, future generations will lose a valuable part of their musical culture and heritage: wonderful musical “time machines” that do not play recordings or simulations of the music but rather play the actual performances that brought delight to earlier generations. Despite all the negative press currently given to American youth and its culture, I am delighted to note that young children and adults still enjoy seeing and hearing the instruments in the Music Hall performing their musical magic.

In contrast to the U.S., many thriving museums feature automatic instruments in Europe (mainly Germany) and Japan. Many beautiful instruments have left America for these foreign museums in the past 20 years.

A few highly successful examples of historic sites around the country use private and public funding for the ongoing maintenance of publicly-used mechanical antiques; however, Virginia City, MT is still in existence. I encourage you to come, see and hear the excellent work that has been done to this collection. I guarantee you will not regret it.

Check Out Our Photo Gallery

Check out some of our favorite photos below. You can also check out our Gallery page for more pictures.

REACH US Get Direction to the Music Collection


Every year is different in Virginia City here are some fun events we have had in the past years.

Backroads of Montana

View the current restoration efforts from the following video, which

Name The Gypsy Contest

One of the most recognizable pieces in the collection is