Did you know there is an entire museum devoted to musical instruments? We expected a small building with a few instruments on display that would take about 30 minutes to tour. What we experienced was completely different. The Musical Instrument Museum (MIM) in Phoenix, Arizona houses 15,000 musical instruments, includes examples from nearly 200 countries and territories, and covers approximately 200,000 square-feet, with two floors of galleries. This place is a must see destination for all ages!
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Visiting the Musical Instrument Museum
The Musical Instrument Museum is massive and cannot be fully experienced in a few hours. Since we were on a tight schedule, we asked a museum docent for help. She gave us some great directions for touring the MIM and a plan to follow.
Start at the Artist Gallery, move directly to the Mechanical Music Gallery; then proceed to the Experience Gallery. Once you have spent as much time as you want in these three galleries you should move to the 2nd floor where you will walk through a musical journey around the globe. The second floor is arranged in Geographic Galleries that focus on five major world regions and showcase the instruments and music of each area of the world.
*Make sure you pick up your headset when you start your tour. As you walk through the museum, leave your earphones on because the music will start as soon as you approach the next exhibit. This is by far the best audio tour I’ve ever experienced.
You don’t have to start and stop the headset because it automatically reads each of the exhibits and starts the appropriate music for that area.
The Artist Gallery is an ever-changing exhibit that celebrates music’s most influential artists! The Artist Gallery highlights the artist throughout history that cross all styles, sounds and time periods.
You can see and hear instruments played by popular musicians such as Elvis Presley®, Johnny Cash, Pablo Casals, John Lennon, Taylor Swift, John Denver, Maroon 5, and many others from around the world.
Each of the exhibits features a different musician or style and has some of the original instruments, outfits and even pieces of music from each of the artists. Any Taylor Swift fans recognize this piano?
Visitors of all ages can find someone that resonates with them and with the automatic music playing at each stage of the way, you can hear how the artist sounds as you approach each exhibit.
Mechanical Music Gallery
MIM’s Mechanical Music Gallery features instruments like player pianos, mechanical zithers, and cylinder music boxes that, by definition, “play themselves.”
This gallery takes you through the history of how mechanical instruments were created and how they evolved over time.
One of the favorite galleries in the Musical Instrument Museum is the Experience Gallery. You don’t have to be a kid to enjoy this experience. Yes, it’s a bit noisy as all the visitors try out their favorite unique instrument, but this is definitely a gallery you should not skip or rush through.
Anyone have an extra concertina sitting around you don’t want? Luke decided he wants to learn this instrument! I guess I’ll be doing some shopping for the perfect starter instrument!
Bang a gong, strum a Burmese harp, and play unique instruments from all corners of the world. The Experience Gallery give guests of all ages a hands-on opportunity to make their own music by playing instruments from around the world and is open to all guests who want to play musical instruments from around the world.
When you have finished touring the first floor, it’s time to travel the world through music. MIM’s collection is presented in Geographic Galleries that focus on five major world regions.
Each of the regions of the world have an extensive display area devoted to the instruments and musical styles that make each region unique.
The 2nd floor is divided into five regions: Europe, Latin America, United States/Canada, Asia and Oceani and Africa/Middle East Gallery. You wander through each of the galleries and experience instruments and music styles from each area.
Find the Musical Instruments Museum
4725 E. Mayo Blvd.
Phoenix, AZ 85050
Open Daily 9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.
Have you ever visited the Musical Instrument Museum? What’s your favorite gallery?
Looking for a restaurant recommendation while visiting Phoenix? Check out Taco Chelo! This casual Mexican restaurant offers the opportunity to pick and choose exactly what you want for lunch or dinner!
Come on in, place your order and then take a seat and wait just a few minutes for the freshest tacos and chips!