Huge Drum Corps Collection Housed at Upper Darby’s Archer-Epler VFW Post, Museum Sought

David Bjorkgren

All things drum corps are found and viewed at Upper Darby’s Archer-Epler VFW Post 979, longtime home of the Musketeers Drum and Bugle Corps, writes Kevin Riordan for The Philadelphia Inquirer.

“You are now seeing the biggest collection in the world, the galaxy, the universe,” said Media resident Bill Ives, founder of a proposed Marching Pageantry Arts Museum.

The collection includes marching band costumes, instruments, banners, flags, photos, programs, recordings, regalia and memorabilia, 24,000 items so far.

Ives’ collection has been called “an incredible asset to the community” by Upper Darby Township council President Laura Wentz, and “one of the most significant in the country,” by an ethnomusicology student helping Ives.

Like other drum corps and marching bands, Upper Darby’s Musketeers drum corps was created by a veteran organization after World War I.

Religious and ethnic groups, police athletic leagues and historically Black colleges and universities also had drum corps.

Now 63, Ives has been marching in drum corps since childhood.

“When you’re in the activity, it’s the world,” Ives said. “You see nothing but music kids, practices every day, competitions, sleeping in gyms … civilians don’t know what we do.”

Read more at The Philadelphia Inquirer and find out how to view the collection.