Catastrophic fire at national instrument museum

Catastrophic fire at national instrument museum


norman lebrecht

August 05, 2015

Norway’s main museum for musical instruments, the Ringve Museum near Trondheim, has been seriously damaged by fire.

Many of the exhibits were damaged beyond repair. A Guarnerius violin has been reduced to ashes. There is hope that a piano once played by Chopin might be salvaged.

Report here.

norway instrument


  • Nick says:

    One wonders what fire precautions and systems were in place to permit such a fire to take hold with such disastrous consequences. It was only last year that Glasgow almost lost its most precious heritage in the Rennie Mackintosh building in the School of Art. Then a projector ignited flammable fumes from a student’s work made of foam panels. Were no fire inspectors summoned – as they are for theatrical scenery – to check the possible fire potential? The building’s existing fire protection systems were in the process of being enhanced – not quickly enough, alas, and it was only the speed and skill of a host of fire fighters that saved the basic structure.

    The curators and governors of buildings housing precious artefacts surely have a duty to ensure that the potential for damage in any form will be minimal. From reports it would seem the Ringve Museum depended on a sprinkler system that would likely cause nearly as much damage to valuable instruments as fire. Hopefully other Museums will now be considering their own fire prevention systems.

    • Will Duffay says:

      It’s that ‘Elf and Safety’ which ignorant people are so cynical about…. until something priceless is destroyed. Or worse, until somebody is seriously injured or killed.

      But sometimes with fire it’s just not possible to avoid all risk.