The Musical Instrument Museum boasts an expansive display of instruments from nearly 200 countries. TripAdvisor.com users rank it the #1 tourist attraction in the Phoenix Metro area. It is the largest museum of its type in the world, and it is here in our back yard. It left me wondering why I hadn’t gone sooner, especially considering that I am a musician.
We spent 2 hours there, and felt rushed. We decided that we needed to go back and spend at least 4-5 hours absorbing the displays. When you get to the reception counter upon entrance, you are given geo tracking headsets that know where you are on your journey through the museum. This allows you to see and hear the sounds of the instruments on display in front of you.
They have enormous rooms dedicated to various regions of the world. The Asian room was my personal favorite. The sounds are so mesmerizing, and the instruments are truly a work of art! As you approach each display, the TV turns on and you are greeted with 4 different audio/video clips of music that all utilize the instruments on display and represent that country. I saw dulcimers, lutes, zithers, percussive instruments, symphonic instruments, guitars, mouth organs and so much more.
The experience gallery was also a lot of fun. They have an entire room of instruments that you can actually play with. I got to play a Theramin for the first time ever, which was cool. I also got to strike a giant gong that had a ton of bass. I also played with various xylophones and other percussive tools, as well as a harp. They even have multiple coin operated Nickelodians, which are pianos that play themselves and include percussive instruments inside that also play on their own. They are basically a self playing band in a box.
The artist gallery was also very interesting, and included memorabilia items from many famous musicians. It had an entire display about Elvis, including shoes, costumes, guitars and more. Other artists with personal items on display include John Lennon, Johnny Cash, Maroon 5 and others. Other noteable rooms include the guitar gallery and the antique instrument gallery.
In summary, I highly recommend that everyone interested in history and music check it out. The MIM displays more than 6,500 instruments from around the world! My only warning is: plan to spend at least 4 hours inside to make the most of your experience. What a wonderful place to visit! I will definitely be back soon! – Fuchsia Angel