The Musical Instrument Museum (MIM)

Musical Instrument Museum
4725 E. Mayo Boulevard
Phoenix, AZ 85050
Open Mon, Tues, Wed, Sat 9am-5pm
Thurs, Fri 9am-9pm
Sun 10am-5pm

Walking into the Musical Instrument Museum, there's a 75% chance you'll hear their guest piano being played by patrons. The MIM offers a clean, airy, and well put together experience of music over the world. Do you have a child about to enroll in band? Or do you have an inner rock star? For only $15 for adults (if you're a Bank of America Customer you get in FREE the first full weekend of every month!) you can indulge yourself with this musical world tour!
I am a band geek. Like a went to band camp 3 summers, play the saxophone, clarinet, bassoon, and tried to learn guitar in college kind of band geek. But I don't feel like that musical involvement influenced my experience - you truly don't have to play an instrument to appreciate the MIM!

The Musical Instrument Museum (MIM) is divided into Geographical Galleries by continent: Africa, Middle East, Asia, United States/Canada, Europe, and Latin America. Europe and the United States were a little less developed and closer to the instruments we're used to seeing, so I'd recommend starting there while your enthusiasm is fresh. Most exhibits have both audio and visual elements to them. When you arrive, you're given headsets that transmit the sounds of the exhibit you're standing in front of. Even if you've never been to Italy, you can experience the sounds and sights of a traditional Italian celebration and see the instruments in action.

After Europe and the United States, I'd wander across to Latin America or Asia. The Latin beats and Asian flare are paired with ceremonial garb, ethnic masks, and lots of drums and gongs! In fact, after this section all I wanted to do was hit one of the drums - even at 30 years old, I had to tell myself not to reach over the display line and thunk something!

About this point, when you get that itch to start playing with displays, it's time to head downstairs to the Experience Gallery. This hands on opportunity allows you to play harps, guitars, drums, gongs, xylophones,
and self playing pianos.This is also a great opportunity if you have kids for one of you to sneak away to the cafe for a glass of wine, or stop in with the family for a snack before heading upstairs. Across from the cafe is the Target Gallery with traveling displays, and the Artist Gallery which is dedicated to musicians and music innovators. After refueling, head over to Africa and the Middle East.

Africa was my favorite continent to experience musically. The creativity, resourcefulness, and simplicity shown in the instruments is unlike anything else. Need a guitar? Good thing there was a Castrol can nearby! And for a rattle - goats hooves work perfectly! Why don't guitars have legs - they can be so easily put on the ground that way? Mixed with ceremonial garb, the tribal beats and carved instruments take you to the African plains and into the village celebrations.

The MIM offers a variety of musical performances, educational activities, and lectures in the MIM Music Theater. Some upcoming workshops include:

Balinese Gamelan Workshop (11/26-12/17) - The 3rd Saturday of each month guests 8 and older can take off their shoes, sit cross legged and get introduced to Balinese culture and instruments.

The Orientation Gallery: Currently displayed is a tribute to guitars, but this display is meant to introduce you to "the artistry, diversity, and movement of musical instruments from around the world." For a complete calendar of Musical Instrument Museum exhibits and events, check out our Event Calendar.

For a list of all other Phoenix museums in addition to the Musical Instrument Museum, cliick here!