The Musical Wonder House

A Museum of Mechanical Musical Instruments

The 1852 residence-museum, on High St., Wiscasset, Maine

The Musical 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 Captain's mansion.

    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.

    -- L. Douglas Henderson/ARTCRAFT Music Rolls