|A World of Accordions Museum seeks to serve the general public by providing insight into the musical artistry, physical beauty, complexity, and cultural significance of accordion-family-instruments and artifacts as displayed in a noble setting. Its mission statement embraces the following goals:
- preservation and restoration of instruments in the collection
- scholarly research in accordion history, organology, and classification
- presentation of world cultures through artifacts, figurines, and art works associated with accordions
- concerts that bring the instruments to life
- library housing of sound/video recordings, published and manuscript music, books, literature, artists estates and pertinent documents
- research into technology, acoustics, and physical sciences.
The Museum provides a complete perspective that is accurate in scholarship, understandable in presentation, interesting and relevant to modern life. Its members receive periodic Newsletters. In 2005, the museum won the MidWest Travel Writers Gemmy Award, and in 2006, it was recognized by the Confédération Internationale des Accordéonistes.
- Preserve Accordion History
- Display Historic Artifacts
- Honor Ethnic Heritages
- Promote Education
- Protect Rarities
- Concert Series
This is the only national institution to promote every aspect of accordion-concertina instruments:
- Preservation, Restoration, Repair
- All Types of Accordion-Family-Instruments
- Manufacturers-Brand Names-Countries of Origin
- Sounded in Performance
- World Artists National Concert Venue
- Educational Public Tours
- Traveling Exhibits
- Music and Sound Recordings Library
- Artistic Representation
- Special Exhibits
Your membership opens the doors!
$36.00 annual personal membership
$55.00 family membership
$200.00 corporate membership promotes societal goals and offers personal benefits
$1,000 Lifetime Membership
Your Special Donations Provide new acquisitions, Support publications, Enhance effectiveness
Special Needs Provider
Friend of the Museum
"Adopt an Accordion" Program
- Estate Bequest
(Provide a clause in your Will to benefit the Museum)
- Patron Emeritus
(Donation of $20,000 or more)
(Donation of $1,000 or more)
(Donation of $500 or more)
(Donation of $250 or more)
(Financial donation of any size)
Please make your check out to "A World of Accordions Museum" and mail to the
Harrington ARTS Center
1401 Belknap St.
Superior, WI 54880
A World of Accordions Museum has resources collected over 25 years. Hundreds of people nationwide and worldwide have contributed to the assets of this unique institution through instrument donations, music anthologies, documents, artifacts, decorative items, recordings, and much more. While listing even the most significant is not easy, and citing all that deserve mention is impractical, the impact of the following people must be acknowledged.
Hanni Strahl † (Austin, TX)
Although Helmi’s mother lived to see only the beginnings of the museum, her frugal lifestyle made possible the purchase of our building. Our Concert Hall is named in her honor; its foyer decorated with memorabilia of her life. Her musical guidance touched hundreds of private students and influenced appreciation for accordion music among thousands in the Texas region.
Duane Sellman † (Burnsville and Duluth, MN)
Although Helmi’s husband did not live to see the extensiveness of the institution, he contributed to its early establishment and encouraged its all-inclusive mission. He was an Electrical Engineer and a genius in music and computers. The museum’s Special Exhibits Area is dedicated to him.
Faithe Deffner † (Long Island, NY, and Boynton Beach, FL)
This most important spokesperson for the accordion was one of the first people to recognize the significance of our American accordion museum. As international manufacturer of Titano and Pancordion instruments, industry supplier, and publisher she stands as example and constant friend. She encouraged AWAM affiliation with the American Accordionists’ Association, International, and nominated Helmi for the “Honored Friend of the Accordion Award” by the 2006 congress of Confédération Internationale des Accordéonistes. She has seen to major donations, and is recognized here as patron and emerita board member. Please visit the Deffner Legacy room in the museum.
Audrey Meitzner (Solon Springs, WI)
Beloved docent at the museum for over ten years, she has participated in museum shows and in every aspect of operations. That includes miscellaneous daily chores, cleaning accordions and bellows taping, scheduling and planning, keeping business records, as a board member and a frequent donor of myriad items. A patron donor and former board member, she has also, at various times, involved each of her eight children in improvements to the museum. Son Andrew Meitzner (Wausaw, WI) is the museum’s official videographer. Audrey drives 45 miles (one-way) many times each week in order to support our activities.
Emil Meitzner (Solon Springs, WI)
Husband of Audrey, Emil designed and built about 100 museum display racks—and donated most of the materials. He has also built reed blocks and other internal parts for accordions under reconstruction. His creativity has extended to carving many of the little accordions held by figurines in ethnic displays. A patron donor and former board member, his council in workshop, computer and engineering matters has been unexcelled.
Willard A. Palmer, III (Houston, TX)
The name of “Bill” Palmer (of Palmer-Hughes fame) is certainly the USA’s most influential in music pedagogy, critical editions, and performance. In 2013, Willard, III, donated his father’s musical estate that includes one of the finest accordions of the museum (Titano Super Emperor V, 1996) and the decorous two-manual, eleven-pedal harpsichord (A. Cecil Taylor, 1979) that graces the concert hall. He is a world-class entertainer, magician and humorist. As performer on banjo and several types of accordions, his interests extend into research on TexMex music history. Bill serves as a board member.
Dr. Peter Magnante †
In 1999, Dr. Magnante visited the museum to award us his father’s musical estate. The Charles Magnante collection was the first of international significance, prompting our book, Charles Magnante: America's Great Accordionist. Researchers regularly investigate his files in our library.
Carolyn Carver (Duluth, MN)
Violinist and participant in innumerable concerts, here and in travels, Carolyn serves as a board member of long standing. She donated her father’s music collection and accordions.
Gary Harvell (Duluth, MN)
A friend of long-standing, Electrical Engineer and graduate of ARTS, and previous board member, Gary constructed and serves as web master of our website. Together with his friend Paul Fischer, Gary has participated in many performances, was responsible for locating many of our most significant instruments, donated incidental items, invented procedures and devices, and was a daily helper in mundane operations and exceptional accordion repairs for eight years.
Sue Spencer (Duluth, MN)
As vice president of the AWAM board she also serves as publicity chair. Sue and her family have volunteered for, and donated to, many activities and concerts sponsored by the institution. As an independent professional, she heads McInnis’ Kitchen and Pondstage Productions.
Yvonne Marts (Fergus Falls, MN)
Graduate of the ARTS curriculum, Yvonne operates her successful repair business, has presented concerts at HARTS, serves as a board member, and is current newsletter editor for AWAM membership. She has donated several displayed instruments and encouraged the donation of several others. Yvonne arranges music for her ensemble, regularly participates in local and regional music events, and sings her texted compositions with consummate skill.
Roger Schmitz (Hutchinson, MN)
A supporter of long standing, engineers Roger and wife Joy designed, constructed, and donated our wonderful concert hall stage, cut from quarter-sawn oak and dyed four times to match the original surroundings. Roger also outfitted it with all necessary electrical outlets. Despite his demanding professional obligations, Roger is always willing to help with museum issues and serves as board member.
Dr. Linda Melcher (Two Harbors, MN and St. Paul, MN)
A new board member, Linda also heads Arts on Superior, with which we share some concert artists. She is an accomplished grant writer and is responsible for our first awards.
Charles Robert Harrington (Austin, TX)
A frequent donor, Helmi’s son Charlie serves on our Advisory Board as well as concierge for AWAM events. His sister Hanni Harrington Wrencher (Austin, TX) also serves on our Advisory Board.
Jim Eisenschenk (Cold Springs, MN)
Responsible for finding, and frequently donating, museum instruments, Jim also makes jigs and helpful devices for our ARTS students. Jim serves as a board member.
Shelby Setniker (Maplewood, MN)
Innovative ideas for the museum’s future abound with Shelby’s energetic manner. A gifted diatonic and chromatic accordionist, she, her father Ronny Setniker (Biwabic, MN) and his band The Button Box Showcase have participated in many AWAM events.
Elsie Bennett † (Brooklyn, NY)
Elsie began donating her letter, documents, artifacts and photographs of historically important musicians in the 1980s. After her death, sons Ron and Kenneth Bennett continue to send us additional contributions from her holdings. Please view her Obiçon painting in our concert hall and investigate her massive writings in the American Accordionists’ Association Archival Collection room.
Dr. Frank Gaviani, Jr. (Braintree, MA)
Encouraged by Faithe Deffner, Dr. Gaviani provided us published editions and manuscripts of his father’s music. He also sent us copies of the entire Pagani Publications output. These works are constantly referenced in our music library.
Dr. Lynda Griffith (Grand Rapids, MN)
Formerly, eight-year participant in daily museum activities, performances, accordion repairs, travels, and museum shows, Lynda is an ARTS graduate, donor, and previous board member. Using her expertise and research in kinesiology, she authored a book on physical health while playing accordion-family instruments.
Florian Chmielewski (Sturgeon Springs, MN)
Long-time friend and supporter of the museum, Former Senator Chmielewski established the International Polka Festival and Ironworld Discovery Center Polkafest. His six-generation Chmielewski Family Funtime Band presented two benefit concerts in 2005 that filled our 1,000-person concert hall. Together with our board member Lorren Lindevig (Cloquet, MN), their performances at AWAM events always bring down the house.
Mary Tokarski and the K Trio (North Haven, CT)
A world-renown artist, Mary, her sister Julie Cardona and brother Walter performed the inaugural concert at HARTS in 2002. Then as on other occasions, Mary donated her artistry for the benefit of the museum. As niece of Michael Fernino, Mary was in a position to donate much of his musical output to our library. Mary has also donated several instruments and amplifiers for our displays.
Stanley Darrow (Westmont and Pitman, NJ)
As historians for the Accordionists and Teachers Guild, International, Stanley and wife Joanna encouraged Helmi’s early interest in accordion history. Many library documents and museum instruments can be credited to discovery through their travels.
Joan Grauman (Potomac, MA)
As historian for the American Accordionists’ Association, International, Joan has shared information and enthusiasm for the preservation of history. Together with husband Dan, they have donated instruments and artifacts and have seen to the transport of others’ donations to the museum, most notably the items of Dr. Carmelo Pino.
Dr. Bernard Metais (Paris, France, and California)
A new Advisory Board Member, Dr. Metais has presented his scholarly research on the French Musette and musical perception for AWAM events. His accordionist wife Anne has participated in these programs.
Kevin Friedrich (New York, NY)
Although newly appointed, his international fame, performance artistry, website and editorial expertise, and personal friendship lend prestige to our board.
Honorable-Mention: Friends, Donors and Concert Providers
- Jose Curbelo (Washington D.C.)
- Dee Langley-Smith (Minneapolis, MN)
- Profs. Friedrich Lips (Moscow, Russia)
- Viatcheslav Semyonov (Rostov and Moscow, Russia)
- Dr. Bernard Metais (Paris, France, and CA)
- Art Metzler † (Florida)
- Helen and Theodore Miller † (NY, NY)
- Jeff and Carrie Millikan (Minneapolis, MN)
- Dr. Carmelo Pino (Washington D.C.)
- Linda Soley Reed (Fairfield, CT)
- Josephine Rush † (Easton, PA)
- Stas Venglevski (Milwaukee, WI)
- John Simkus (Chicago, IL)
- Dr. Anthony Bukoski (Superior, WI)
- Robert Dingmann (Minneapolis, MN)
- Marsden Eisloeffel (Belleville, IL)