The Museum of Musical Instruments celebrates its 5th anniversary, 4/25-26

If you’ve ever wanted to explore music and instruments from cultures around the world and throughout history, look no further than the Musical Instrument Museum.

The museum is the only one of its kind in the world. Its instruments and other artifacts represent the music and culture of each country through interactive exhibits, special events, concerts, and educational programs.

MIM celebrates its fifth anniversary with a week of activities starting Monday, April 20 and culminating in the action-packed Experience MIM festival on Saturday and Sunday. Here is a glimpse of the interior of the museum.

What is it like to visit

Upon arrival, each guest receives a GuidePort system with headphones. When a visitor approaches, for example, Alice Cooper’s video display, the GuidePort plays audio of Cooper performing. It’s like a personal guided tour.

On a recent Wednesday, the museum was busy with families and tourists. A little girl stopped in front of a video screen to watch African tribesmen playing, twirling and shaking their hips happily. A teenager strummed a guitar in the Experience Gallery, and a young visitor played Bach’s Solfege in C minor at breakneck speed on the Steinway Model B in the lobby.

Visitors young and old make their way through the global galleries, stopping in front of instrument displays, tapping their feet and swaying to the sound of music videos, getting up close to examine some of the more unusual instruments or the most decorated.

Shelby Valliant is a snowbird who spends half the year in Surprise and the other half in Seattle. Her grandchildren were from Seattle and she wondered where to take them. The group stopped for a moment at the Steinway Piano exhibit, showing how a grand piano is built. Her 10-year-old grandson Jaxon Leiden is learning to play the guitar.

“I love looking at all the instruments, like the giant cello downstairs and that drum set from Asia,” he said. “Everything is pretty cool.”

While it’s relatively quiet in the galleries because visitors are wearing headphones, people stop and talk about various exhibits. Friendly guides chat with visitors and answer questions. Executive director April Salomon said the museum implemented a brand ambassador program in 2014. She often greets guests in the morning.

“We always try to look through a critical lens and make everything as exceptional as possible, whether it’s the messages the guides convey on the tours, the cleanliness of the parking lot or the bathrooms, the programs at the museum or the experience in the store and the cafe.,” she says. “We want to make that personal connection, be engaging and anticipate questions before people ask them.”

Educational and fun

Educational outreach is essential to MIM’s mission. In 2014, the museum provided free admission for 60% of school visits and helped fund transportation costs for 28 school districts and seven schools.

The Mini Music Makers is one of many youth programs. It is for children up to 5 years old. Wendy Maher from Scottsdale has been bringing her daughter, Emily, to the workshops since she was 8 months old.

Children on a field trip play with various instruments at the Musical Instrument Museum in Scottsdale on Friday, April 17, 2015.

“It really helped her come out of her shell,” Maher said. “Music education at an early age helps the child’s development and various skills. It’s hard to get that in other programs. And the activities are play-based, so she has fun and made new friends.”

Classical pianist Alpin Hong is part of MIM’s Artist-in-Residence program. He performs regularly at the theater and for schoolchildren, and records his first album at the theatre. It introduces classical music to children through pop songs, video game music, and other unexpected ways.

“I did this performance in the middle of the museum once,” Hong said. “I recorded a video of me playing a Yamaha (piano), which was then projected on the wall like my ghost, and I played the second part live, so it was like I was doing a duet with myself. It was really great and pushed the boundaries.”

Richard Burns, a retired doctor, has been a guide at the museum since 2010. He said he particularly enjoys teaching children.

“There was an 8-year-old girl who came to me after a tour and said she was looking forward to coming back, and a boy who said he asked his dad to bring him back on Sunday for his anniversary,” Burns said. mentioned. “If we can show people that museums are cool and fun, while learning something along the way, isn’t that great?”

How MIM started

Founder Robert J. Ulrich, former CEO and Chairman Emeritus of Target Corp., was inspired to open MIM after a visit to a similar museum in Brussels. Its vision was to feature music and instruments from all countries and provide a state-of-the-art interactive audio and visual system.

The construction of the museum cost $250 million, compared to an initial estimate of $100 million. Ulrich invested $50 million of his own money. The museum, a 501c3 nonprofit, operates with an annual budget of $13 million. In 2014, he earned $2.8 million in admission fees and $1.7 million in concert tickets. It also receives funding from corporations, foundations, grants, and its Circle of Friends donor program. Since opening, more than 3,000 donors have contributed, 80% of them from Arizona.

by John Lennon

“One of the biggest challenges we’ve faced is the public perception that we don’t need public support or donations,” Solomon said. “When we first opened, people walked through the door, saw the aesthetics of a tastefully constructed new building, and the automatic assumption is that we’re doing just fine. But that couldn’t be be further from the truth. We want to be here for generations to come.”

The Circle of Friends program offers unlimited admission and other benefits to donors who have contributed at least $250 per year. Those who give more receive more benefits. This year, the museum is expanding the programming. Two adults who donate $100 can enjoy unlimited admission for one year; a family of four can get the same thing for $150.

Burns said community support is vital.

“The museum can’t just sell tickets. We need to have civic pride and grow like all the other fabulous institutions in Phoenix,” he said.

“It’s unbelievable to me that it was just a vacant lot before that. I want to see MIM last another five years and hopefully continue well beyond my lifetime. I think as as the museum grows, it will get better and better.”

Musical Instrument Museum

Hours: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.

Address: 4725 E. Mayo Blvd., Phoenix.

Admission: $20, $15 for ages 13-19, $10 for ages 4-12, free for ages 3 and under. “Beyond the Beat” costs an additional $7 with museum admission, or $10 for the exhibit only.

Details: 480-478-6000,

MIM Anniversary Events

monday april 20

Musical performance: jazz musicians Steve Adelson and Emmett Chapman.

Gallery talk and special “Beyond the Beat” talk: Richard Walter, associate curator.

Special lunch menu: United States and Canada.

tuesday 21 april

Musical performance: Latin percussionist Joseph Goglia.

Gallery Lecture and Special Lecture “Beyond the Beat”: Daniel C. Piper, Curator for Latin America and the Caribbean.

Special lunch menu: Latin America and the Caribbean.

Wednesday April 22

Musical performance: Harpist Laura Goldstein.

Gallery presentation and special “Beyond the Beat” presentation: Kathleen R. Wiens, curator for Europe.

Special lunch menu: Europe.

Thursday April 23

Musical performance: ASU African Drum Ensemble.

Gallery talk and special talk “Beyond the Beat”: Manuel Jordán, Deputy Director and Chief Curator; curator for Africa.

Special lunch menu: Africa.

friday april 24

Musical performance: Taiko drum group Fushicho Daiko.

Gallery lecture and special lecture “Beyond the Beat”: Colin G. Pearson, curator for Asia, Oceania and the Middle East.

Special lunch menu: Asia.

Saturday-Sunday April 25-26

The “Experience MIM” celebration will feature music and dance performances and hands-on activities throughout the day.

9 a.m.: The first 100 visitors receive a birthday cupcake from Strictly From Scratch Bakery.

9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.: Photo booth with props. Pose for fun photos to take home.

9:30am-4:00pm: Make crafts such as party hats and harmonicas.

10:15-10:30 a.m.: Lion dance show.

11 a.m.-2 p.m.: Specialty menu and sparkling wine tasting at the café.

11 a.m. to 3 p.m.: Make-up and body art with henna.

11am-11:45am: Navajo-Ute flute demonstration by Aaron White.

12:15-1:00 p.m.: Sampradaya Dance of India performs.

1:45-2:30 p.m.: The Cal Tjader Tribute Band performs.

2:30-3:30 p.m.: “Speed ​​date” with a curator. Guests have three minutes to ask questions of a member of the conservation team. When the bell rings, move on to the next curator.

3:15-4:00 p.m.: The band Bouncing Czechs performs.

Top MIM exhibitions

“American Sabor: Latinos in American Popular Music”: November 2010-May 2011.

“The Power of Music: Photographic Portraits of Americans and Their Musical Instruments: 1860-1915”: September-November 2011.

“SANZA: African thumb pianos from the collections of F. & F. Boulanger-Bouhière and MIM”: February-October 2012.

“Portraits of the Golden Age of Jazz”: November 2012-April 2013.

“Women Who Rock: Vision, Passion, Power”: October 2013-April 2014.

“Beyond the Rhythm: Drums of the World”: November 2014-October 2015. The exhibition has been extended from its original closing date of June 21

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