History of the Academy

Museum Ground Floor

These displays show the illustrious history of the Royal Academy of Music, the oldest conservatoire in the United Kingdom. Founded in 1822, the Academy has been devoted to educating and training many of the world’s greatest musicians for nearly two hundred years.

Follow the Timeline to discover highlights of Academy activity across the years. Find out how musical history was shaped here against a backdrop of Victorian social reform, two World wars, the Swinging Sixties and beyond.  

Our large showcase displays items from the collections to give a glimpse of life inside the Academy from 1822 to the present day. See the classrooms, musical exercises and medals of early students, alongside letters by Mendelssohn, one of Henry Wood’s conducting batons, Dennis Brain’s horn, and a backstage pass to Elton John playing with the Royal Academy of Music at Radio City Music Hall.