We Visit the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix, Arizona
I don’t suppose there is any reason for you to know this, but I (David) have as my undergraduate degree, four years of classical vocal training. The love of music runs swiftly through my every synapse.
The other cool thing to consider is that I am clearly not alone in this love. Every culture that has ever existed, on every square inch of our globe, has loved and expressed themselves in music.
Therefore, when we were afforded the opportunity to do a piece on Phoenix, Arizona’s brand new Musical Instrument Museum, we jumped at the chance.
The Musical Instrument Museum (MIM) bills itself as the world’s first global instrument museum, and has set about to collect musical instruments from every country in the world.
The two-story, 190,000 square feet museum is divided into distinctly separate collections. On the first floor, exhibits are organized by themes. The Orientation Gallery introduces guests to the astonishing variety of instruments, the ways music has been shaped by interaction and exchange, and the dazzling artistry of handcrafted instruments from around the world. On the second floor, instruments are organized by geography, across these ten major regions of the world: Africa, Middle East, Central Asia, South Asia, East Asia, Southeast Asia, Oceania, Latin America, United States / Canada, and Europe.
There is also a wonderful, hands-on experience museum, a conservation lab visible through glass windows, a 299-seat auditorium, a marvelous cafe featuring foods from around the world, and even a unique musical instrument museum store.
Another cool feature is the museum’s wireless museum guides. Guests are given wireless headsets to wear throughout the museum. As they approach different displays, they can hear the instruments being played, either solo or as an ensemble. Photographs and video familiarize guests with the unique sounds of each musical culture, allowing them to share a common experience. Special display areas and exhibitions emphasize interactivity and personal selection.
All told, we spent around 5 hours strolling through the various musical cultures of the world. The wireless audio, along with individual videos at each display, really allowed you to bathe yourself in the music of all these differing lands. It was a wonderful experience.
I might also say, you should plan to eat your lunch at the museum. For lunch we enjoyed a Russian Stroganoff with red beets. YUM! However, if you don’t fancy stroganoff, then there is certain to be another world’s cuisine offered on another day, alongside your typical museum fare.
For my baby boomer readers, this would be a delightful place to take your grandchildren. They will certainly create lifetime memories in the experience room. I know that Carol had a wonderful time playing all those different instruments.
We are very pleased to have this resource available in Phoenix, and look forward to many returns to listen to a few of their unique concerts.