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Are you interested in seeing a zither or learning more about its history firsthand? There are many places in the US and abroad where the history of this instrument can be experienced.

The Washington Historical Society Museum - Washington, Missouri

Over 10,000 Schwarzer instruments, with the majority being zithers, were made in Washington, Missouri by Austrian immigrant Franz Schwarzer, beginning in l866. Schwarzer’s zithers competed favorably with those of European makers and were sold all over the world. Today, many of Franz Schwarzer's famous zithers can be seen at the museum's Franz Schwarzer Exhibit.

The Washington Historical Society museum is open every day from March 1 to mid-December, except Mondays and major holidays. Admission is free. For more information on the museum, featured exhibits and publications, visit the Washington Historical Society's web site at

The Mercer Museum - Doylestown, Pennsylvania

The scheitholt, whose form is the predecessor to the modern alpine zither, was constructed and played in the US by early German immigrants in the 18th and 19th centuries. Presented in 1923 to members of the Bucks County Historical Society, Dr. Henry Mercer's article, "The Zithers of The Pennsylvania Germans," , provided greater insight into this instrument, several of which are now on display at the museum.

The Mercer Museum is the legacy of archaeologist and historian Dr. Henry Mercer, whose work served to ensure the preservation of handmade, early American, artifacts for posterity. The museum’s collection includes more than 40,000 objects exhibiting the tools of more than 60 different crafts and trades, providing one of the world’s most comprehensive portraits of material culture in America. The museum is located at 84 South Pine Street in Doylestown, PA and is open for self-guided exploration 7 days a week. To learn more about the exhibit and its special events , visit or call 215-345-0210

The Martin Museum - Nazareth, Pennsylvania

A limited number of zithers, made by the Martin Guitar Co. were constructed for Philip Louis Brachet, a music teacher, zither player and composer from Philadelphia, PA. The Martin museum currently has two of these concert zithers in their collection.

To see this zither, guitars and other finely crafted instruments made by C. F. Martin & Co, visit the Martin Museum.

The Museum of Fine Arts (MFA), Boston - Boston, Massachusetts

The MFA, Boston's "Zithers, Psalteries, and Dulcimers" collection contains several historical zithers in various forms. Included in this collection is a very impressive concert zither made by New York based instrument makers Hartmann Bros. & Reinhard for the 1893 Columbian Exposition in Chicago.

To learn more about this and other collections at the MFA, Boston, visit their web site at

The National Music Museum (NMM) - Vermillion, SD

Founded in 1973 on the campus of the University of South Dakota, the NMM collection includes more than 800 zithers from around the world. More than 600 of these zithers were donated in 2006 by Paul and Jean Christian of St. Paul, MN, a couple who specialized in collecting zithers and zither-related materials.

For more information, visit the web site of the National Music Museum

The Mauch Chunk Museum & Cultural Center (MCMCC) - Jim Thorpe, PA

On display at the MCMCC is the zither of James Exel. Originally from Austria, James Exel was working in London when he met the American Industrialist Harry Packer. James agreed to come to the United States and worked as a butler for a number of years for the Packer Family. In Mauch Chunk, he played his zither at Packer family parties, community gatherings and the Mauch Chunk Opera House.

For more information, visit the web site of the Mauch Chunk Museum & Cultural Center.

The Third Man Museum - Vienna, Austria

Gerhard Strassgschwandtner works as a guide in Vienna, Austria and collects all kind of objects related to the movie The Third Man, which was shot in the postwar ruins of Vienna in 1948. Passion met profession when Gerhard decided to create a museum out of his extensive collection. On September 15, 2005 the Third Man Museum was officially opened by the British Ambassador and the Vienna City Councilor for Culture.

The Third Man Museum is the project of Karin Hoefler and Gerhard Strassgschwandtner. For additional information, visit the Third Man Museum's web site at or e-mail

Have you recently visited a place that has a zither and is not mentioned here? If so, contact us.