When William Ives first started collecting drum corps memorabilia 29 years ago, he never thought he would have more than 17,000 items to showcase.
Located in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania, Ives’ Drum Corps Memorabilia Museum has been decades in the making and contains more than 280 uniforms, 150 shakos, 130 jackets, and 800 records. It also includes photos, drums, flags, horns, pins, program books, and much more.
Individuals can view the artifacts Monday evenings at the local Archer-Epler VFW Post 979.
After a couple of his corps friends died in 1990, Ives started chronicling the history of Archer-Epler Musketeers Drum and Bugle Corps, where he participated in color guard and percussion. At first the memorabilia he gathered or received was limited to the Musketeers, but his collection flourished and now encompasses corps from across the country.
“All of this stuff came because people knew my passion for drum corps history, so my mission grew from the Musketeers history to all drum corps history, and since then my mission has grown from all drum corps history to the history of the drum and the history of the bugle and the history of the color guard,” says Ives, who was inducted into the World Drum Corps Hall of Fame in 2018.
Within the next five years, Ives wants to raise $2 million to $5 million in order to move into a larger building. Ives is currently accepting donations and volunteers for the project.
Ives also wants to weave in virtual or augmented reality, allowing those who can’t visit the physical museum to still view the memorabilia.
“The idea is to have a global reach, so that I’m not limited to foot traffic here,” says Ives, who also co-founded DCX: The Drum Corps Xperience website.