Titanic violin to go on display next year at 2 US museums

FILE - In this Sept. 16, 2013 file photo, Sean Madden, of Fine Art Conservation, works to show the violin played by bandmaster Wallace Hartley during Titanic's tragic maiden voyage, during a photocall to the media in Lurgan, Northern Ireland. The sea-corroded violin believed to have been played by the bandmaster of the Titanic as the ocean liner sank will be displayed next year at a pair of U.S. museums; from March 7 to May 29 in Branson, Missouri, and from June 5 to Aug. 14 in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. (AP Photo/Peter Morrison, File)

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - A sea-corroded violin believed to have been played by the bandmaster of the Titanic as the ocean liner sank is headed to two U.S. museums next year where it will be displayed publicly for the first time since its sale set a record.

An anonymous buyer paid more than $1.6 million in U.S. dollars (1 million pounds) for the violin during a 2013 British auction, setting a world record for a Titanic artifact. Auctioneers Henry Aldridge & Son said the instrument, now unplayable, has undergone rigorous testing that proved it belonged to bandmaster Wallace Hartley, who was among the 1912 disaster's more than 1,500 victims.

Through an arrangement with the Wiltshire, England, auction house and the owner whom they represent, the violin is coming to the southwest Missouri town of Branson from March 7 to May 29 and Tennessee's Smoky Mountains town of Pigeon Forge from June 5 to Aug.