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Musical Instrument Museum

Home > Phoenix > Classical Music | Hobbies | Museums | Music | Places of Interest
by Judy Karnia (subscribe)
I am a travel writer, life coach and forest therapy guide living in Scottsdale, AZ. Visit my website at
Published August 28th 2021
A unique museum of global music
MIM was created with a vision for a museum that showcases instruments and music from around the world. This vision succeeded and offers a truly spectacular museum in terms of its architecture, layout and experience. The collection includes more than 8000 instruments from over 200 countries. The main galleries are on the second floor and are divided into the major regions of the world: United States and Canada, Europe, Asia and Oceania, Africa, Middle East, and Latin America. The galleries flow into each other and are spacious so you rarely notice the other visitors.
US Gallery
United States Gallery

Each gallery is made up of sections focusing on one country. There is a map for those of us who are geographically challenged. Multiple instruments hang on the walls and are arranged on a platform with labels describing each. There are also authentic local costumes and artifacts. A plaque explains a bit about each country's music, including its origins and influences.
Japan exhibit
Japan Exhibit

One of the best parts was a genius design by the creators of the museum. When you enter MIM, you receive a headset and receiver. As you walk near each exhibit, examples of the music are played into your headset. There is a screen showing the musicians and dancers to correlate with the music. There is a range of videos from decades ago of very simple instruments to modern music videos of electronic music. There are pieces performed on stage with professional musicians to scenes from a village with locals playing, singing and dancing. You will be amazed at how long you explore the galleries entranced by all the various exhibits.
Music exhibit
One of the many amazing exhibits

On the first floor are a few specialized galleries. The Artist's Gallery focuses on some well-known musicians. My favorite is the Elvis exhibit showing him performing in his young days and enlisting in the army. The Mechanical Music Gallery is one spot where you will notice many other visitors as everybody crowds in to watch and hear the Orchestrion. There is also Special Exhibits Gallery offering rotating exhibits.
Elvis Exhibit
Elvis Exhibit

Mechancial Music
Orchestrion in Mechinal Music Gallery

Don't forget to visit the one room where you get to try out your own musical skills, the Experience Gallery. Strike some drums or gongs, play a guitar or harp or try out the theremin. Don't worry, nobody else in there knows how to play any of these either.

Plan to stay at MIM for far longer than you anticipated. It is a stunning building and filled with so many interesting sights and sounds. There is a café so you can take a break during your explorations and fuel up for more.
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Phone: 480-478-6000
Where: North Phoenix, off Tatum
Cost: $20 adults, $10 children
Your Comment
That's wonderful and isn't it great how technology can enhance the museum experience.
by Gayle Beveridge-Marien (score: 4|10118) 464 days ago
such a great and diverse range of instruments. Just shows that music is universal. thank you
by Gillian Ching (score: 3|5826) 463 days ago
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