The Musical Wonder House
A Museum of Mechanical Musical Instruments
Wonder House (Music Museum): THE
GOLDEN AGE - 1963-1986
The Musical Wonder House was a definitive
museum of mechanical musical instruments for the home, shown and played
in a setting of historical elegance - an 1852 Georgian style Sea
Opened as a three way partnership in 1962, the
museum and its
stellar collection of antique musical boxes, player pianos, mechanical
organs, early phonographs and musical automata, was created and
operated by Lois Konvalinka and L. Douglas Henderson.
Lois Konvalinka and Douglas Henderson were both
antique musical box enthusiasts, going back to 1946. They had friends
who possessed wonderful examples and visited locations with automatic
instruments on display. A
coincidence: both Lois and Douglas visited Sutro's in San Francisco
back in 1946, primarily for the musical boxes. They would not meet
until 1960 when Douglas came East to work with QRS Music Rolls, located
in the Bronx.
Guided Tours went nonstop from May through October,
most given by Mr. Henderson,
whose years of experience in the field
dated back to the early 1950s, when he also began making virtuoso rolls
for Player-Pianos. There were Evening Concerts several times a week
during the peak of the season.
People came from all over the world to experience
performances of restored antique mechanical instruments and the museum
was featured in many magazine articles, newspapers, radio broadcasts
and six programs on Public Television, taped in Durham NH. During the
museum's GOLDEN AGE visitors
experienced working examples of instruments from the late 18th Century
to 1931, a balanced
presentation of 'living musical history' which recreated the sounds
from bygone eras.
In 1986 the partnership ended. Lois Konvalinka and
Mr. Henderson "moved around the corner", setting up a residence and
music roll Studio for ARTCRAFT Music Rolls,
which began in 1982. The
was first full-time perforating/publishing operation for player rolls
by Mr. Henderson, having arranged them since the early '50s in
California ... and producing many unique rolls for designed for
performance during his Guided Tours at the museum in the 1960s through
the middle 1980s.
Those who visited The Musical Wonder House during
the first 23 years of its operation will always remember the displays,
the décors by Lois Konvalinka and the stellar performance of the
antique musical instruments.
Lois Konvainka and I will always remember those
"good times" shared with often interactive audiences, many being people
who returned season after season for another memorable Guided Tour.