Musical Instruments of the World at MIM

Located on East Mayo Boulevard in Phoenix, Arizona, the Musical Instrument Museum (MIM) uses modern technology to immerse visitors in a worldwide music tour. Upon entering the museum visitors are provided with wireless headsets to wear while they tour the exhibits, and as they approach a display they will hear the sounds of the instruments they are viewing, sometimes as a solo performance and at other times as an ensemble, thereby creating an interesting audio-visual experience. High resolution flat screens offer visitors the opportunity to see and hear unusual instruments being played, including a hurdy-gurdy player and a Japanese taiko drummer. Musical instruments from about two hundred countries around the world are represented in the museum’s nearly three hundred displays.

The first floor of the MIM introduces visitors to the diversity, artistry and history of musical instruments from around the world by means of the Orientation Gallery. The second floor has five main sections categorized geographically – Africa/Middle East; Asia/Oceania; Latin America and the Caribbean; United States/Canada; and Europe. These main sections have sub-categories highlighting different types of tribal, folk and ethnic music. All the instruments displayed are authentic, with some having been used in the folk and tribal rituals they were designed for.

The MIM’s Conservation Lab can be viewed through a large window where visitors will be able to watch experts restore and conserve a variety of instruments ensuring that future generations will have the benefit of the musical history presented at the museum. Conservation and restoration work includes carefully testing the item to determine the best method of restoration, bearing in mind that musical instruments are made from a variety of materials such as different types of wood, metals, hides, bones, and more recently, plastic.

With exceptional acoustics, state-of-the art technology and seating for 300 people, the MIM’s Music Theater is the venue for live concerts by musicians from around the world. The museum also offers a program of workshops, lectures, films and interactive performances, showcasing musical trends and traditions.

Visitors to the Musical Instrument Museum will no doubt agree it fulfills its objective of celebrating the world’s diverse musical cultures and fostering global understanding by offering visitors “an incomparable interactive experience, a welcome and fun environment, dynamic programming, and exceptional musical performances.”