Museum open online 24/7. 365 (or 366) days/year

Who are the people behind the Cello Museum?

Hello, cello friends.

My name is Brenda Neece, and I am a curator here at the Cello Museum.

Brenda Neece

Dr. Brenda Neece, Curator

The idea for an online museum about the cello came to me in a flash in the sitting room of one of my greatest and most beloved mentors, the great Jeremy Montagu (1927-2020), organologist and retired curator of the Bate Collection at the University of Oxford.

Immediately after leaving the University of Oxford where I earned my doctorate in the history of the cello, I took up the post as the first curator of the musical instrument museum at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina. After just over a decade there, I left to pursue my interests in the cello and in photography.

Since that time, Jeremy had been trying to persuade me to get back into the museum world, and I had resisted until that moment last October. As our conversation turned to my career, I said: “Jeremy, if only there were a cello museum – then I’d want to get back to museum work.”

Light bulb

If this had been a cartoon, a light bulb would have appeared over my head at that moment, along with the text: I will make a cello museum online.

From there, Jeremy and I discussed the value of sharing information, making it readily available to all who are interested, and how such a museum could be made a reality. After leaving Jeremy’s house, I realized I’d had possibly the most valuable tutorial I’d ever had with him.

the British Museum

My next two and a half weeks involved a tour of some of the most famous sites of Egypt, with visits to prominent Egyptological collections in the UK beforehand. Although these were unrelated to the cello, as I visited numerous museums and historic sites, my mind was working on how to create the cello museum online without a physical presence.

When I returned to my home in North Carolina from my adventures in Egypt and the UK, I started to put together the Cello Museum team. This initially included

  • an anonymous sponsor and advisor
  • two official advisors – Jeremy Montagu and Laurence Libin
  • an anonymous advertising and web expert with five years of musical instrument museum experience
  • and another cello specialist with interests that overlap but also complement my own – Erica Lessie.

Jeremy Montagu, 29 October 2019. This was the day the Cello Museum was conceived.

With great sadness, I must report that Jeremy Montagu passed away a few hours after I announced the museum opening date.

I will always remain grateful to him for all of his help with this museum – and moreover, for his guidance over three decades. I am sad that he did not live to see the launch of the Cello Museum.

My Father’s Advice

Growing up, I witnessed my father putting together and leading teams of researchers. He told me I should always surround myself with people who were at least as smart and/or as much of an expert – if not more so – than I was, and that way I’d have the best team possible.

I followed my father’s advice when I brought together the people at the Cello Museum. Now, it is my great pleasure to introduce the rest of the Cello Museum team.

Meet the Cello Museum Team

© The Cello Museum 2023 | All Rights Reserved