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Musical Instrument Museum Opens in Phoenix

The Musical Instrument Museum (MIM) opened to the public on April 24 in Phoenix with more than 3,000 instruments and musical artifacts from around the world on display.

A $250 million project, MIM opened its 190,000-square-foot building with two floors of galleries, a music theater, classroom, garden courtyard, performance hall, recording studio, cafe and store. Some exhibits demonstrate how instruments work, while other displays detail the instrument-building process. The experience gallery lets guests touch and play musical instruments.

“The goal of the Musical Instrument Museum is to illuminate what is unique about cultures and also what is shared and universal,” said Bob Ulrich, MIM founder and board chairman. “MIM will provide an experience like none other, allowing musical novices and experts, tourists and scholars, children and grandparents to hear, see and feel the powerful and uniting force of music in an entirely new way.”

The collection is organized into geo-galleries that represent five global regions, including Africa and the Middle East, Asia and Oceania, Europe, Latin American, and the United States and Canada. There is also an artist gallery, which features famous instruments, such as flutes played by Grammy-nominated Native American artist R. Carlos Nakai, the first Steinway piano in Henrich Engelhard Steinweg’s home and the Eric Clapton’s “Brownie” Fender Stratocaster.

“The unique global perspective of our collection — its breadth and depth — allows us to make connections between countries and cultures that have never before been expressed in a museum setting,” said Bill DeWalt, MIM president and director.