Musical Instrument Museum

In 2010, Phoenix, Arizona opened up a museum dedicated solely to musical instruments called the Musical Instrument Museum (MIM).  The MIM strives to display instruments from every country and territory in the world, so, with about 7,000 instruments on display, there over 200 countries/territories currently represented. 

The museum is categorized by geographic regions, meaning that the instruments from South Asia are all in one section, whereas the instruments from Europe are in another.  However, the displays are categorized even further by individual countries.  For instance, the room devoted to African instruments does not lump them all together, but provides a separate display for each individual country. 

The MIM is organized by different geographic regions.

When you arrive at the museum, you receive an individual headset, which you wear while walking through the museum.  Once you arrive at a specific country’s display, a sensor picks up your headset and starts playing the music of that country.  Additionally, most of the countries also have a screen next to them, showing people playing the music that is coming through your headset.  This is what makes the MIM so amazing.  You not only have the ability to see a variety of instruments from all over the world, but you are also able to hear and watch them being played.

Since the MIM is located in the United States, the U.S. has the largest representation of any country within the museum.  However, this means that the sections about the United States are divided by genre, so jazz, rock and roll, and country music all have their own sections.  The U.S. section even has the first Steinway piano, which is impressive, since this U.S. company is considered one of the best piano companies in the world.  Although classical music is often performed on Steinway pianos, the classical music genre is actually covered in the European instruments section.

The first Steinway piano dates to 1836.

The Musical Instrument Museum is definitely worth the visit, especially if you have an interest in music.

Sources and Further Reading

“FAQS.” Musical Instrument Museum. https://mim.org/faqs/ (accessed October 25, 2019).

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