Sunday, April 8, 2012

Musical Instrument Museum, Phoenix, Arizona


We went to the Musical Instrument Museum today using our Museums on Us benefits from Bank of America. Surprisingly, we spent three hours at the museum and enjoyed ourselves quite a bit!

The museum is very new – just about two years old – and in fact, not all of the displays are complete yet. The general premise of the museum is to experience – by seeing, hearing and playing – instruments of the world.  Upon getting your ticket, you’re also given an audio tour headset, which simply starts/stops at various displays.  We decided to begin our tour upstairs, and along the way enjoyed the Orientation Gallery with samples of guitars and various instruments from around the world. This cornet is from the late 19th century, and here’s a photo of the air guitar on display. Keep practicing yours, as the championships
held annually in Oulu, Finland.


The upstairs in divided into continents, with multiple displays from Africa, the Middle East, Asia, Latin America, Oceania, Europe and the United States & Canada. Often there was a video of dancers and/or musicians playing the instruments that were on display – this was where the audio tour came in, as you could hear how the instruments sound. The flow of the upstairs was perfect, as you simply walked from continent to continent. 
 

Of course, all this listening made us hungry, so we took a break from our touring to enjoy the café on the first floor.  There are two areas to eat – the coffee shop with pre-made sandwiches, and the café, with an assortment of freshly made sandwiches, frittatas, pizzas, etc….  We split a hamburger and sweet potato fries which were both great, along with the staff and service.


Good thing we filled our bellies, as next on the agenda was the Experience Gallery where people could play with all of the instruments we saw upstairs.  These are not your everyday instruments, but replicas of the drums, gongs, and other exotic instruments of the world. In case you’re wondering, yes, Brad is for hire the next time you need a gong player.

Adjacent to the Experience Gallery is the Artist Gallery which houses some of the  instruments from prominent artists, including John Lennon’s Steinway Model Z  piano, purchased in 1970.  He wrote Imagine on it based on a poem written by Yoko Ono.  


Also exhibited is a guitar used by Eric Clapton, 


and the last guitar on which Elvis Presley preformed, February – June, 1977.


So if you’re in the area, this was a very cool museum, different than most, and one we enjoyed more than we thought.

The museum is open
Mon., Tue., Wed., and Sat.: 9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.
Thu. and Fri.: 9:00 a.m.–9:00 p.m.
Sun.: 10:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.

Price are
Adults 18–64: $15.00
Seniors 65+: $13.00
Youths 6–17: $10.00
Children 5 and under: Free

There are also upcoming events and a music theatre that can be enjoyed. Oh, and if you play the piano, there is a Steinway in the lobby where you can sit and play – a variety of people entertained us while we wandered the museum.

The Musical Instrument Museum’s motto was written everywhere ~ Music is the language of the soul ~ so we decided to become more musical after being inspired by all that we saw – we think we’ll start with the musical spoons!
 

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