The instrument was built by the Kimball Organ Company in 1928. The organ was designed to accompany silent films, and includes other musical instruments such as the glockenspiel, chimes, xylophone, drums, sleigh bells, Chinese block, triangle and bird calls. It has a two manual and pedal console and 548 pipes. Pioneer theatre operator W.D. Gross installed it in his Coliseum Theatre on South Franklin Street in 1928. It was moved to the 20th Century Theatre on Front Street around 1939. The organ fell into disuse and was sold to Letha and Miles Remley in 1970. The organ was donated to the Alaska State Museum in 1975 "as a museum piece, to be restored and made playable, to remain in Juneau and be installed in a public place." Thirty-thousand dollars was raised through the "Save the Organ" committee under the leadership of Mrs. Connie Boochever, and the organ was shipped to Seattle for restoration by Balcom and Vaughan, successors to the company that originally sold the organ. The Alaska State Museum spent an additional $30,000 for the organ chamber in the atrium of the State Office Building, designed by Frank Maier and built by Niels Finn Larsen. Noon hour concerts are held every Friday; the July 6, concert will include a special program and cake in celebration of the anniversary.
PUBLISHED: 5:35 PM on Wednesday, June 20, 2007