Phoenix is home to the world’s largest collection of musical instruments, and in this innovative museum, you can do so much more than just stand back and admire them. Founded in 2010, the Musical Instrument Museum (MIM) houses almost 15,000 different musical instruments and artefacts from around the world in a custom-built facility covering 180,000 square metres. The airy halls provide a great space for discovering the world of music, and the world’s music, and there are areas for making music too – with recording studios and theatres for the pros, and many hands-on displays for visitors.
The museum is divided into galleries – five focus on the different regions of the world and allow visitors to experience the music and instruments found there, from familiar flutes, ukuleles and bongos to the more unusual. Try your hand at an Australian didgeridoo, enjoy the sweet melody from a stringed Appalachian dulcimer or get your nostrils in gear with a Taiwanese lalingedan nose flute.
There are many historical and unique pieces here, but this is a hands-on experience and everyone is encouraged to have a go. Videos and headphones provide an insight into the sounds and styles of these instruments in their home countries, and also emphasise what a key part music plays in cultures around the globe. Music truly is an international language.
Music fans will love the Artist Gallery, where composers, innovators and musicians are celebrated. Popular pieces here include John Lennon’s piano, some of Elvis Presley’s instruments and a guitar played by Eric Clapton.
The museum is open during the day, but the MIM Music Theater opens for films and performances at night. Admission includes wireless headphones and there is discounted admission for children.
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