The Kid Should See This

How The Met reassembled the Appleton Pipe Organ

To properly care for one of the oldest functioning pipe organs made in America, The Appleton Pipe Organ, The Metropolitan Museum of Art needed to dismantle, refurbish, and reassemble the piece. The time lapse video above reveals some of the fine details found within the organ as it’s put back together. But why did they take it apart in the first place?

Inside The Met’s organ there are over 800 pipes! Each pipe needs to be tuned regularly, just like a guitar or piano. But sometimes there are problems that need to be fixed. If a valve doesn’t close tightly, then air leaks and the organ doesn’t play well—it gets out of breath. Sometimes air leaks can cause an extra note to play even though the musician didn’t press the key. These are called ghost notes. If all of the organ parts don’t move well or at the same time, then the organ doesn’t play well and can even get damaged. So every once in a while, these moving parts need adjustments to function properly.

We noticed many of these problems, so we knew it was time to give The Met’s organ our undivided attention. The first thing we did was take it apart. This was a big job, since our organ has over 1,000 pieces, some very big and others very small. We needed to keep track of them all. We took many photographs; labeled the pieces, and took very careful notes.

Read more about the conservation project via Met Kids.

Then watch these videos next: Tiger Rag on a homemade Emphatic Chromatic Callioforte, The Great Stalacpipe Organ deep in Luray Caverns, and Morske Orgulje – The Sea Organ in Zadar, Croatia.

This feature is being tested. Saves will disappear if you clear cookies. Find saved videos here.

🌈 Related videos

How to make a Pumpkin Piano (using a Makey Makey)

Rion Nakaya

Relighting “Circus Sideshow (Parade de cirque)” by Georges Seurat

Rion Nakaya

Where India’s Top Brass Get Their Instruments

Rion Nakaya

Maurice Steger performs recorder concertos by Vivaldi

Rion Nakaya

Extravagant furniture with secret panels, doors, and drawers

Rion Nakaya

Playing Against Type: The Typewriter Orchestra

Rion Nakaya

Golden Kingdoms: Luxury & Legacy in the Ancient Americas

Rion Nakaya

Harpo Marx plays the clarinet

Rion Nakaya

Bus Station Sonata: Commuters play Beethoven

Rion Nakaya

Browse the TKSST Video Collections

Get 7 smart videos delivered every week.