The Kazoo Museum (at the Kazoobie Kazoo Factory)
Location: Beaufort, South Carolina (12 John Galt Road)
When to visit: Weekdays 9 am – 5pm
Cost: Free to visit the museum, $14.50 if you want a factory tour
Time needed: 20-30 minutes
When I heard about a museum dedicated to a plastic novelty instrument, I was immediately intrigued. I had to visit the Kazoo Museum!
On my last trip to South Carolina, I made time to stop in Beaufort to check out this place. It’s a small but fun museum with old kazoos, pop culture exhibits, video screens, and the opportunity to build your own kazoo.
Curious about what you’ll see at the Kazoo Museum? Read on to learn about this magnificently quirky place.
Kazoo Museum: Hours, Exhibits
The Kazoo Museum is located inside the Kazoobie Factory in Beaufort, South Carolina, a small town just north of Hilton Head.
As of this writing, it’s open on weekdays only from 9 am to 5 pm. The museum is free to visit, though you can pay to tour the factory.
This museum actually started as one man’s personal collection in Seattle. It eventually grew and was moved to the Kazoobie Factory, which makes plastic kazoos in Beaufort.
This museum has all sorts of fun kazoo-related items. Like a giant American flag made of kazoos!
They have cases full of kazoo memorabilia, including some old instruments. The museum now holds close to 200 kazoo-related artifacts.
This one from 1884 was made of tin and wood!
This case includes a bunch of kazoos and other oddball horns and music-making devices from the first half of the 1900s.
The coolest exhibit is an entire wall with a timeline of kazoo moments in pop culture.
Let’s call it “great moments in kazoo history!”
So what are those noteworthy kazoo accomplishments? Let’s go over a few.
In 1960, famed conductor Leonard Bernstein revealed that he enjoys playing the kazoo, then he brought opera singer Anita Darian onstage to perform a song on the kazoo with the New York Philharmonic.
In 1961, the kazoo made its premiere on Broadway, in the musical How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.
In 1964, the Mary Poppins movie featured kazoo music in its animated sequences.
In 1974, Ringo Starr released “You’re Sixteen,” which credited his former Beatle bandmate Paul McCartney with playing the kazoo.
The idea of Paul McCartney playing the kazoo is pretty funny. But some fact-checking revealed this probably didn’t happen.
The song’s producer, Richard Perry, was quoted in the Billboard Book of Number One Hits as saying, “In fact, the solo on ‘You’re Sixteen,’ which sounds like a kazoo or something, was Paul singing very spontaneously as we played that track back, so he’s singing solo on that.”
In any case, the kazoo had plenty of other cool moments, like in 1992 when Mr. Fred Rogers and children’s music singer Ella Jenkins performed a kazoo duet on “London Bridge is Falling Down.”
In 2011, the Guinness World Record for largest kazoo ensemble was set when more than 5000 people at London’s Royal Albert Hall played together. And in 2019, orangutans at the Indianapolis Zoo learned to play kazoos.
Elsewhere in the museum, for just a few bucks, I was able to build my own kazoo. I could choose from a variety of colors (I went with yellow!), and the employee showed me how to use the machine to snap the pieces together.
Kazoobie Factory Tour and Gift Shop
The factory tour costs $14.50 per adult and $11.50 per child. The guided tours take place each weekday at 10 am, 11 am, 1 pm, and 2 pm. They last 45-60 minutes.
The tour includes a video presentation, a walk through the factory to see how everything words, and the chance to put together a kazoo at the end of the tour.
Whether you take the factory tour or not, you can browse the fun items in the gift shop.
The shop offers lots of plastic toys and kazoo-related merch, like shirts with puns and phrases like “Kazoo Hero” and “Keep Calm and Kazoo On.”
There’s another kazoo museum, by the way. This one lives in Eden, New York at the Original American Kazoo Company, which is the only kazoo factory in North America still manufacturing metal kazoos.
South Carolina Attractions
The Beaufort Kazoo Museum was one of my favorite quirky stops on my Orlando to Charleston, South Carolina drive.
Would you visit the Kazoo Museum?