The Academy of Music began as the dream of businessman and Northampton native Edward H. R. Lyman (1819-1899). Lyman considered himself a "trustee" for his hometown, and he decided that one of the things he should do for the city was ensure that it had a place "suitable for lectures, concerts, opera, and the drama for the public good." He accomplished his goal through the construction and donation of the Academy of Music Theatre, which was built between 1889 and 1890. Lyman gave the theatre to the city of Northampton as a gift in 1892, and generations of area residents have benefited from his generosity, enjoying live theatre, music and dance, as well as films. The Academy of Music is one of the historical, architectural, and cultural treasures of Northampton and the entire the Pioneer Valley. It remains true to Edward Lyman's original dream, and it has brought that vision forward to the 21st century, continuing in its mission to enrich greater Northampton's quality of life.