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“We loved it but....”
Review of Musical Wonder House - CLOSED

Musical Wonder House
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Reviewed October 8, 2012

...I can understand those that think it is way over priced.
My husband & I both are intrigued by music boxes & other musical contraptions.
Neither of us is nor has been involved in the music business.
We chose the 1hr, 1 floor tour with Richard. He was VERY knowledgeable not only about the history of the house (duplex) but the music "boxes".

We were very lucky to be the only 2 on this tour. October 7th 2012....it will close for the season in one week.

In reading several of the "poor" reviews I can understand that with many people on the tour one probably wouldn't get the same ability to see it all & hear the "stories" that go along with many of the items there.

Before we even left the first room (of three) the smallest & most wonderfully crowded with things...(all dusted by Richard)...Richard asked us if we had a further interest in something he didn't mention. Of course, we had several & he took the time to tell us all that we asked about. He wasn't hurried nor impatient. His stories were offered willingly. I'm sure when it's busy that would be a whole different story.

They DO offer a AAA discount which is the same as the senior discount meaning the $20 1hr tour was only $18. I say ONLY....but it's pricier that most museums in the area. (example, one block away at the corner of High St & Lee St the Castle tucker....also wonderful & less expensive)

There is SO much to feast ones eyes on it's almost overwhelming.

At the end, in the gift shop they had a 50% off sale...couldn't resist a small crystal piano that plays music, of course. We also bought 2 CD's of music box music. (I think the 50% off prices were what they should have been at the get-go....oh, well, we are happy campers anyway.)

1  Thank PanAmPatti
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviews (23)
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12 - 16 of 23 reviews

Reviewed September 28, 2012

It took a little work to find this place but it was absolutely worth it. Some people have complained about the price of the tour at $20 per floor but one floor gets you three rooms jam packed with all kinds of wonderful, fascinating music boxes and at least an hour with the incredibly informative guide.

I had high hopes going in and wasn't disappointed - every box was a delight and when I asked about ones he hadn't shown us, he happily obliged. All in all a brilliantly quirky and fun museum.

2  Thank sianparker79
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 22, 2012

Thoroughly enjoyed this unique museum about an hour from Portland in the charming town of Wiscasset. The admission is a bit on the high side, but in line with prices for other museums in this area that I visited. They offer 1 hour and 2 hour tours, and we took the one hour of the downstairs which takes you through three rooms.
You're allowed to take photos and videos, so be sure to bring plenty of memory cards. They have a wide range of music boxes the guide will play for you. There are too many boxes to play them all, but our guide was happy to play any box that caught our fancy that he hadnt already played. They explain the history of music boxes and how they work. They have whistling mechanical birds, a lot of music boxes with rolls and disks, and some that also add bells and small drums. The guide played an Edison wax cylinder recording (predates the record), a player piano and an early music box/record player. They also had playful music boxes such as a scene of skaters on a pond, mechanical dolls playing pianos, a 3-D painting of ships on a sea that moved, and a clown striking keys on a xylophone with a mallet.
There's a gift shop selling music boxes and CDs of the music. Bring some quarters, they have several coin-operated music boxes in the main hall you can play yourself.

5  Thank ChrissyHny
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 17, 2012

We took the first floor tour of this museum last year. When I decided to review our visit today, I thought that I would check the other comments here first. Frankly, after reading them, I was dumbfounded. Most gave this museum glowing accolades. Well, I agree that the museum has an impressive collection. It truly does. However, as for the reviews, I can only conclude that some people writing them must be passionate music box lovers--and, thus, found this museum just incredible for them to see--regardless of the price. Personally, after seeing a few exquisitely crafted pieces, I was really done with the tour--and, wondered why we spent $40 to have it.

Therefore, I thought that I would write a review for the traveler looking for something interesting to do in the sleepy, but, charming town of Wiscasset. And, who might think this museum could satisfy their curiosity about music boxes, only to find themselves gobsmacked by the investment required to look at them.

You can read the details about this museum from the other comments, and, from its website. However, when it comes to its admissions price, charging $20+ for each of two floors of displays (a total of $40+ to see everything--per person???), in a building that was a former home (this is not a large space), and, which, I understand is a place supposedly haunted (the ghosts did not show-up on our visit), is, in my opinion, way too pricey for this attraction. I'm not sure that I understand why this price is so high. Perhaps they're seeking to maximize return on the few visitors they have considering the short tourist season in Maine.

If you're not a passionate music box lover, but, just have a curiosity about seeing some, here's what you could do at this museum instead. When you walk into the front door (which, is the first floor), you'll find free displays in the center room in front of you (that maybe has 20 pieces?), which, was really enough for us to see. While you're looking at these free displays, and, if doors to adjoining rooms only available on the tour are open, you can sneak a peek at the displays in those rooms as well. Then, you could go to the back of the building, which, has the gift shop. You'll find the gift shop has its own displays that are interesting, with, price tags to match. For us, the shop simply served as another free area to see some fabulous musical pieces.

We're not adverse to paying a fair price for an attraction. But, like the Desert of Maine, paying exorbitant rates to see sand, sand, and, more sand, if you're really not into the craftsmanship, and, history of music boxes (granted, the tour is informative), then, you really don't want to see a box, another box, and, another. Just check-out the free displays, and, gift shop at this museum. Save your $40, and, use it on something far more exciting, and, interesting to do in nearby Boothbay Harbor (a 20-30 minute ride)--whale watching comes to mind.

By the way, Wiscasset is a wonderful, and, charming little town, having a few shops to see, a few good restaurants at which to eat (the famous "Red Eats" is here), and, maybe a few things to quietly do. However, its main street is the equivalent of two sides of a long block. It's not a town at which to spend an entire day, but, it truly is an enjoyable few hour visit.

3  Thank BearWillow
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 12, 2011

The Musical Wonder House is worth a detour off Route 1. I know it is a pain to get on and off that road, but believe me, you won't be sorry. TAKE THE KIDS, TEENAGERS TOO, TAKE YOUR HUSBAND, they will not be disappointed. The tour weaves in and out of beautiful Victorian rooms in the mansion. Each room is loaded with unique, exquisite, music boxes. Words can not describe the delightful sounds you will hear, nor can they express the feeling that comes over you. This tour is a trip back to childhood, and the guide makes it even more enjoyable. He has a voice, along with stories that capture your imagination. Private tours and group tours can be arranged. Be sure to call for exact times.

4  Thank 1crissytravels
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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