Polk’s America | Sigal Music Museum

Polk's America with the Sigal Music Museum

Detail of Astor & Co. piano, c. 1815, courtesy Sigal Music Museum

May 11, 2021 | 11AM Central

What did Polk’s America sound like? 

For this special lunchtime presentation, we welcome Alexandra Cade and Thomas Strange of the Sigal Music Museum in Greenville, South Carolina, to shed light on music making in Polk’s America.

Guests will explore:

  • Music of Sarah Childress Polk, including an investigation in Sarah’s manuscript music volume from her time at the Salem Female Academy
  • Parlor Music & Women’s Music Education
  • The piano trade in the West and how music changed (or didn’t) on the frontier
  • Related instruments from the Sigal Music Museum’s renowned collection  

This edition of Polk’s America will be presented virtually, with a live Q&A component after the lecture.

ALEXANDRA CADE, Senior Curator & Director of Woodwind Studies

Alexandra is a scholar of the material culture of music, education, and performance in early nineteenth-century America. A native of Philadelphia, Alexandra received her M.A. from the University of Delaware’s Winterthur Program in American Material Culture, where she studied historic soundscapes and the intersections between amateurism and craftsmanship in nineteenth century American square pianos. In addition to her time at Winterthur, Alexandra worked as the apprentice harpsichord maker at Colonial Williamsburg and has completed research fellowships at the Canterbury Shaker Village and the Museum of Early Southern Decorative Art’s Summer Institute. Alexandra also holds undergraduate degrees in viola performance and history from the Eastman School of Music and University of Rochester.


THOMAS STRANGE, Executive Director & Chief Curator

Thomas is one of the founders of the Sigal Music Museum in Greenville, South Carolina. An accomplished builder and restorer of keyboard instruments, Strange has presented lectures, concerts, and papers on early piano development throughout the United States and Europe. In 2016, Strange and a small group of partners founded the Carolina Music Museum, which became the Sigal Music Museum in 2019 following a major gift from the Marlowe Sigal estate. In addition to his work with early keyboard instruments, Thomas has an extensive background in materials science and is the author of fifty-three patents and numerous papers over the last three decades, covering all aspects of medical device component development. He holds undergraduate and graduate degrees in Physics at the University of South Carolina


How to Watch:

© 2024 President James K. Polk Home and Museum

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