In Part 2 of this blog, I recalled my tour of architect Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin West, on a whirlwind work/pleasure weekend. The series continues…
Thousands of instruments from all over the world make beautiful music together at the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix. Unlike many museums, there is not a specific audience or age group for this museum because music transcends age groups, gender, ethnicities and social status. It’s wonderfully universal which is the very nature of the MIM – a collection of musical instruments from all over the world, presented in five Geographical Galleries.
Although all of the instruments are very interesting, the experience comes alive when you use the wireless headsets. As you approach exhibit stations, all clearly divided by country, you hear selections of music played by those instruments along with video accompaniment. Some exhibits include clothing and other props that go along with that type of music such as the Scissors Dance of Peru. This is something that makes the MIM a perfect place for kids: It’s colorful, about making noise, banging on things and in the case of the Scissors Dance, is about running around with scissors! It’s every parent’s nightmare, set to music, with a costume. What fun! As it turns out, the “scissors” are actually tuned steel clappers that resemble scissors but actually make rhythmic sounds.
When it gets to be too much to look-but-don’t-touch all those wonderful noise-making things, there is the Experience Gallery where you get to actually play some of the instruments you’ve been seeing in the galleries. The giant gong is a favorite, as is the totally tubular Theremin which seems like a modern techno-instrument but has actually been around since the 1920’s.
And when even that is too much, there’s a room with tables and chairs and an additional, private room for nursing that lets everyone take a little break.
All that instrument-gandering and virtual travel around the world works up an appetite. Fortunately, the Café at MIM offers top notch food from a menu that Chef Edward Farrow changes every few days as inspired by one of the exhibits such as Ethiopian food for the African exhibit or New Orleans fare for the new Jazz exhibit.
Walking around The MIM, you realize that every country, and all its people, have the drive to make music, whether it’s strummed, struck or blown into. Despite differences, and accounting for uniqueness, we are all the same. It’s a wonderful lesson.
Upcoming events at the MIM:
Currently – The new Jazz Exhibit
June 30 – Country Music Day
July 14 – Bastille Day
August – Unveiling new items in the Elvis exhibit (the exhibit itself is permanent but the objects change every 12-18 months).
- A new Jazz exhibit is currently showing at The MIM. Photo courtesy MIM.
- – IT CO MOM, Courtney
- Read Part 4 here.