The Musical Instruments Museum, located in Phoenix is home to about 6,800 instruments from approximately 200 countries and territories, making it one of the largest collections of its kind in the world. The Geographic Gallery is one of five exhibition spaces in the museum’s stunning main building. The other four galleries are dedicated to artists, mechanical music, science and technology, and an interactive gallery called “The Experience.” You can also watch skilled artisans at work repairing equipment in the museum’s Conservation Lab. The museum features instruments and live music from all over the world at their Signature Events and in their special travelling exhibits. The organization has a 300-seat theater where performances can be seen.
The original vision behind MIM was to create a museum dedicated to musical instruments from all around the world. When former Target Corporation CEO Bob Ulrich observed that most music museums only displayed historic, primarily Western classical instruments in their collections, he was motivated to found the Musical Instrument Museum (MIM) to rectify this oversight. The needs of the museum’s visitors have informed every design decision. Our goal has always been to give people a musical experience that would benefit them in some way, whether it be emotionally or intellectually.
The Museum was founded by Robert J. Ulrich, a former CEO and chairman of Target Corporation. After visiting the Musical Instrument institution in Brussels, Belgium with his friend Marc Felix, who was also inspired by the institution, African art collector and museum enthusiast Ulrich came up with the notion. The 1997 renovation of Paris’s Musée de la Musique served as a useful point of reference for the museum’s architects.
Two floors of the modern building’s 200,000-square-foot space are devoted to exhibitions. The museum’s construction cost more than $250 million. At the exhibits for each country, visitors can watch high-definition videos of local musicians performing on flat screens. Visitors can listen to the performances via a wireless device equipped with headphones that is activated whenever a visitor approaches an exhibit.
More than eight thousand instruments from over two hundred countries are now housed at MIM. The galleries showcase the rich diversity and history of many diverse civilizations from throughout the world. The fact that we all share an appreciation for music and instruments is a magnificent illustration of the truth behind our motto: “Music is a language of the spirit.”