June 2, 2021 to June 12, 2021
Wednesday–Saturday, 2:30 p.m.
520 Royal Street
Admission is free, but registration is required. Capacity is limited.
Register now!

In the early 20th century, having a player organ in the home was a luxury reserved for the most opulent residences. Tobacco magnate William Ratcliffe Irby remodeled the property at 520 Royal Street—now part of THNOC’s exhibition center—to serve as his home starting in 1918. In the process he installed a player organ in the entry room to his lavish third-floor apartment. The instrument, built by the Aeolian Company of New York, is one of a handful that has survived to this day in its original location and in working condition, after a meticulous restoration by the Holtkamp Organ Company. 

Join THNOC staff for a newly developed presentation about this extraordinary instrument in the Barbara S. Beckman Music Room, where the organ’s console and ornamental pipes command the space. This half-hour program will explore the history of the organ and its significance as a mechanical musical instrument. The presentation will include musical demonstrations—both manual and automatic—to illustrate how this technologically advanced instrument operates.  

“A Mechanical Marvel Preserved: The Aeolian Organ at 520 Royal Street” will be held on the following days and times: 


Wednesday, June 9, at 2:30 pm  
Thursday, June 10, at 2:30 pm  
Friday, June 11, at 2:30 pm  
Saturday, June 12, at 2:30 pm  


Note: Visitors to The Historic New Orleans Collection are required to wear face coverings while indoors. For our COVID-19 safety guidelines, visit out FAQ page here.