The Nevada City Music Hall houses the largest public collection of automated music machines in North America. Charles and Sue Bovey began collecting the machines in the 1940's, bringing together a unique assortment of antiques like no other collection anywhere. Many of these machines are still in great working order, while others are being restored in partnership with AMICA's (Automated Musical Instrument Collector's Association) Adopt-A-Piano program.
The Nevada City Music Hall is now considered part of the Nevada City Museum. Entrance fee is the same. $8.00 for adults, $6.00 ages 6-16, and 5 and under are free. There is also a new gift shop at the entrance to the museum.
The building was built as the "Recreation Hall" at Canyon Lodge in Yellowstone National Park, about 1910. It was disassembled in 1959 and moved to Nevada City. The Music Hall now contains perhaps the world's largest collection of band organs and music machines on public display. The largest organs are mostly Gavioli organs, made in Paris in the 1890's. There are also three Wurlitzer band organs, a Wurlitzer theatre organ, and several piano-based machines, as well as other circa-1900 arcade machines. The piano-based machines include two violin players, mostly built in Chicago circa-1911 - 1920's and shipped to Butte.
This building houses the biggest music organ in the world. It is almost the size of a house. The 90-key intricately carved Gavolli military band organ is one of the "Headliners" in Nevada City Music Hall's collection nickelodeons (the very first juke boxes). Built in Paris, France, about 1880, the instrument is 27 feet wide, 12 feet high and four feet deep. It was shipped to The Berni Organ Company, who was then the Gavolli distributor of New York. They had it in their showroom for many years before selling it to the N.A.B. Organ Company in Brooklyn. They in turn sold it to Charles Bovey, along with six other organs of smaller type. The old organs were restored by Oswald (Ozzie) Wurdeman and his son Tom Wurdeman both of Minneapolis. For a period of time the Music Hall was renamed the Wurdeman Music Hall as a dedication to all their hard work.
Mutoscopes were like early VCRs or TV sets. When a coin was put in the slot, they lit up. Customers looked inside and turned a crank to watch a little movie flip by.
In the Music Hall, you'll also find the largest rifle in Montana.