National Music Museum

Architect rendering of $9.2M, 16,000-sq.-ft. expansion of the National Music Museum, to open 2021

Architect rendering of $9.2M, 16,000-sq.-ft. expansion of the National Music Museum, to open 2021

National Music Museum

University of South Dakota

Vermillion, SD


Matt Collinsworth appointed Director

We are pleased to announce that Matt Collinsworth will be the new Director of the National Music Museum (NMM) at the University of South Dakota (USD), Vermillion. NMM is one of the world's premier collections of musical instruments. Chosen after a nationwide search, Mr. Collinsworth assumed the duties of director on March 11, 2019.

Collinsworth most recently served as the Interim Executive Director of the Lexington (Kentucky) Art League. Prior to that, he served for 15 years as Director of the Kentucky Folk Art Center (KFAC) at Morehead State University in Morehead, Kentucky. Collinsworth helped grow KFAC from a small, regional institution into a nationally recognized museum with a reputation for producing groundbreaking exhibitions, many of which travelled across America. Additionally, under his direction the museum's collection grew by 400%, and programming and facilities were significantly enhanced. Concurrent with his tenure at KFAC, Collinsworth served as Morehead State University's Senior Director of Outreach, Preservation and Education, providing oversight for both Morehead State University Public Radio and the Kentucky Center for Traditional Music.

 As an experienced university administrator, Collinsworth understands the importance of fully integrating museum programs into campus and community life. He appreciates both the challenges and opportunities of running a rurally located museum.

He stated, "The NMM houses one of the finest collections of its kind in the world, and it is an honor to join its distinguished staff and to work with such a supportive board and university administration. We not only have the opportunity to create a world-class museum facility, but also to create an exemplary museum program that puts people at the center of everything that we do. The museum has the potential to take on ambitious and aspirational projects that serve and attract audiences locally and across the world."

 Larry Schou, Dean of the College of Fine Arts at USD and Chair of the Search Advisory Committee that unanimously selected Collinsworth, said, "We were all impressed with Matt's versatility as a museum leader. He brings experience in all the areas where the museum is now focused: raising money for operations and capital projects, developing its national Board of Trustees, involving students and faculty in museum activities, and growing and implementing programs that serve diverse audiences locally, regionally, internationally and online."

 The museum has completed its capital campaign to build a new wing for the museum, with construction set to begin in the summer of 2019. The Board has already raised more than $9M and the City of Vermillion recently pledged $700,000 for the expansion project. Additionally, the Vermillion Chamber and Development Company agreed to build a new off-site collections facility for the National Music Museum built as a lease-to-own cooperative effort. Collinsworth will spearhead the effort to raise the remaining funds needed for new exhibits, the new Preservation Center, and strengthening the endowment.

Collinsworth holds an M.F.A. from Ohio State University and a bachelor's degree from Georgetown College.

On March 11, 2019, Collinsworth took the reins from Interim Director Dennis Acrea, who led the museum through the transition period from December 2017 to February 15, 2019.

The Search Review and Advisory Committee was chaired by Dean Schou and included six other trustees, staff and stakeholders: Nate Welch, Ford Bell, Jo Wohlenberg, Peggy Banks, Rachael White, and Michael Suing. Museum Search & Reference ran the national search.