Danilo Konvalinka, Douglas Henderson and Lois Ernst Konvalinka opened the Musical Wonder House, located at 16-18 High Street in Wiscasset, in 1963 and started what would become a one-of-a-kind collection of mechanical musical machines, automata, and specialized, ultra precise hand-crafted instruments.
For anyone who has ever visited the “museum” as it came to be known, there was little doubting its unique identity. Entering seven magnificent rooms overflowing with music history was overpowering and emotional.
On tours, Douglas Henderson astonished guests; his knowledge of mechanical musical instruments was unprecedented. The Emerald Polyphon, a dazzling and rare disc music box, provided one-of-a-kind entertainment, a famous rendition of “Silent Night”recorded by Henderson, distributed around the world.
Concerts on a Steinway player grand piano featuring Chopin, Strauss, Mozart, Beethoven and others, were overwhelming — utterly transformative. It’s difficult to explain the feeling of sitting next to such a magnificent instrument full of volume, complexity and timbre. Not an experience for the faint of heart. And the player roll selections available for these instruments was endless.
Danilo has spent the last five years of his life in nursing home facilities, never far from his beloved instruments, yet hopelessly, helplessly unable to even visit his home. A trust was created to preserve the collection, but things haven't exactly worked out. Now it’s too late for him and the Musical Wonder House.
Editor’s Note: The Wiscasset Newspaper has attempted to contact the Musical Wonder House through several means; however, the only response was an email reply saying that the museum is undergoing renovations.