our story

Preserving the Past,
Celebrating the Present

A newcomer to St. Louis’ rich offering of museums, the National Saxophone Museum presents an extraordinary collection of rare and historically significant saxophones paired with related artifacts that are part of our musical history.

The collection features many vintage and modern saxophones that are either extremely rare (even one-of-a-kind) and/or represent specific milestones of achievement in the development of the instrument. In addition to the instruments, museum-goers will also enjoy perusing our collections of saxophone accessories, old manufacturing photos and films, vintage catalogs and product memorabilia, vintage and antique books and periodicals, and an interesting compilation of historical saxophone recordings. This singular opportunity to connect to music history has been curated to educate, entertain, and inspire.

From Private Collection to Museum

The National Saxophone Museum started with a private collection. The original collection grew from Mark Overton’s fascination with manufacturing history and tireless efforts. Through his ownership of the Saxquest saxophone retail and repair shop on historic downtown Cherokee street, he could acquire saxophones for the collection when he came across particularly rare vintage instruments in good condition. The saxophones were on display at Saxquest for the benefit of customers. Over time, the collection grew in both size and popularity. Visitors would drop by just to view the instruments. The number of instruments and artifacts eventually necessitated dedicating the whole second floor of the store to the collection, and even that space would soon become overwhelmed.

It became clear that the Saxquest collection was more than just a personal collection. With careful curating, it now comprised a unique and dynamic record of the history of the saxophone and served as an impressive repository of creative human achievement as it relates to both musical instrument manufacturing and performance. So, after 20 years of work the National Saxophone Museum was formed to both bring this history to the public and to protect its legacy.

From the Heart of St. Louis

St. Louis has produced artists of note in all genres associated with the saxophone – jazz, blues, ragtime… From soloists like Frankie Trambauer to collectives like The Black Artists Group, St. Louis has been a font of innovation. The National Saxophone Museum is possible today thanks to the thriving artist community in St. Louis. We hope to be a contributing part of this community so that with our outreach efforts combined with local organizations like Jazz St. Louis, we can help this city continue to be a center for renowned artists for years to come.