Musical Instrument Museum

The Musical Instrument Museum (MIM) is located in Phoenix, Arizona. Opened in April 2010, it is the largest museum of its type in the world. The collection of over 15,000 musical instruments and associated objects includes examples from nearly 200 countries and territories representing every inhabited continent. Some larger countries, such as the United States, Mexico, India, China, and Brazil, have multiple displays with subsections for different types of ethnic, folk, and tribal music.

The Museum was founded by Robert J. Ulrich, former CEO and chairman of Target Corporation. A collector of African art and a world museum enthusiast, Ulrich and his friend Marc Felix originated the idea after a visit to the Musical Instrument Museum in Brussels, Belgium. The museum’s design also benefited from the consultation of the Musée de la Musique in Paris, which modernized in 1997.

This contemporary building Phoenix covers approximately 200,000 square feet, with two floors of galleries. The museum was built at a cost of over US$250 million. The exhibit for each country features a flat-screen high-resolution video showing local musicians performing on native instruments. Visitors can listen to the performances through a wireless device with headphones activated automatically when an exhibit is being observed.

The facility contains a 299-seat theater for concerts, held primarily after regular hours. Joshua Bell recorded his album “French Impressions” in the theater in 2011. There is also a cafe with both indoor and outdoor seating.  Many musical artists have appeared at MIM, including Martha Reeves, Lyle Lovett, Wanda Jackson, Jordin Sparks, Ronnie Spector, Altan, Ramsey Lewis, and George Benson.

Ground Floor

  • The Artist Gallery – Instruments, video concert footage, photographs, performance outfits, and other special items linked to notable musicians and music innovators. The gallery has included exhibits of musical artists such as Elvis Presley, Pablo Casals, John Lennon, King Sunny Adé, Taylor Swift, and others worldwide.
  • The Experience Gallery – MIM’s Experience Gallery invites guests of all ages to touch, play, and hear various cultural instruments. Guests can try new instruments such as drums, guitars, and harps.
  • The Mechanical Music Gallery – MIM’s Mechanical Music Gallery features a selection of musical instruments such as player pianos, mechanical zithers, and cylinder music boxes that, by definition, “play themselves.”
  • The Target Gallery – The Target Gallery complements the museum’s permanent collection with traveling shows, special engagements, and changing exhibitions. A1 Bed Bug Exterminator

Upper Floor

  • The Africa and Middle East gallery displays instruments and artifacts from sub-Saharan, North African, and Middle Eastern nations.
  • The Asia and Oceania gallery features instruments from countries and island groups in five sub-galleries devoted to regions of East Asia, South Asia, Southeast Asia, Oceania, Central Asia, and the Caucasus.
  • The Europe gallery, where guests encounter instruments ranging from an antique charter horn and a foot-operated drum kit to a child’s vessel flute.
  • The Latin America gallery features instruments and ensembles in three sub-galleries: South America, Central America, Mexico, and the Caribbean.

Address: 4725 E Mayo Blvd, Phoenix, AZ

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