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The Musical Instrument Museum (MIM) is an amazing place for music lovers. This museum in northern Phoenix, Arizona houses the largest collection of musical instruments in the world. As they say on their website, the MIM is “the world’s only global musical instrument museum”.
Musical Instrument Museum (MIM): One of a Kind
The MIM has two floors full of musical instruments from around the world. One of the convenient aspects of this museum is that it groups instruments into two categories; by instrument type and by instrument country.
Instrument type is for major categories of instruments, like strings, drums, wind, etc. It has some of the most important instruments in the category but not all.
Five geographic galleries display instruments from major world regions. Instruments by country seem to include the instruments used (not necessarily native) for the music of that country. Therefore, you may find the same type of instrument in different countries.
This is a large museum; therefore, taking a guided tour is a great way to get started. Our tour started with the laud in the string section, showing us the instrument that became the precursor of the Spanish string guitar we know today. That got our first “wow” of many more to come!
The Musical Instrument Museum also has dedicated rooms for events and even a concert hall.
My wife and I spent about two hours in the museum and feel that we barely scratched the surface of all that is there. I could have easily spent two weeks in the place. And I found out that the average stay in the museum is about 4 hours, which speaks about how people stay interested in what’s inside this building.
An Amazing Experience
Although we were intrigued by the drums in the Africa section, and some metal percussion instruments in India, we spent most of our time in the Latin America section.
It was great to see the instruments from different countries like Mexico, Colombia, Venezuela, the Dominican Republic, Peru, Ecuador, Panama, Cuba, and of course Puerto Rico (just to mention some of the countries).
The exhibits have TV screens showing videos of the countries’ performers. In the Puerto Rico exhibit, they had Cortijo with Ismael Rivera as part of the clips.
This truly was an amazing experience that I recommend to anyone visiting the Phoenix area. With Phoenix hosting the Super Bowl in 2023, I’m sure this will be one of the main stops for many visitors. If I ever return to the Phoenix, I will pay the Musical Instrument Museum another visit.