Tuesday, October 22, 2013

MIM: The Most Extraordinary Museum You'll Ever Hear

Yesterday I had the distinct privilege of learning about the Musical Instrument Museum (MIM) firsthand from its President and Director, Carrie Heinonen.

MIM offers a collection of more than 15,000 instruments, focusing on five major global regions: Africa and the Middle East; Asia and Oceania; Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean; and the United States and Canada. The MIM experience is a one-of-a-kind blending of an awe-inspiring museum collection and state-of-the-art audiovisual technology.

MIM is fun for all ages! Children especially love the 
Experience Gallery. Photo courtesy of MIM.

There may be other museums of musical instruments in the world, but none have taken on the unique task of bringing together such a broad collection of instruments from more than 200 countries and territories around the world. Each section of MIM's collection transports you to a new part of the world, allowing you to experience each instrument in its original cultural setting.

MIM features instruments from around the world. Photo courtesy of MIM.

With 200,000 square feet of space, every turn in the museum reveals a new world to explore. Whether it's the music of the royal court of Rwanda or the sights and sounds of a Taylor Swift concert, visitors of all backgrounds will find something to pique their interest. 

There’s no lack of detail taken into account either. Even MIM’s architecture is meant to tell a story. The materials and patterns of the building are intended to mimic the desert landscape of Arizona and celebrate musical composition and instruments. Pay attention as you drive towards the building and you’ll recognize the familiar keys of a piano in the shape of the building’s windows.

MIM's use of Indian sandstone is meant to complement and blend with 
surrounding desert colors. Photo courtesy of MIM.

There’s no question that a city rich in cultural offerings helps to draw both new businesses and qualified professionals to a region.  These cultural elements – museums, orchestras, ballets, etc. – all help to create jobs, attract new investments, generate tax revenues, and boost the economy with additional tourism spending. A vibrant arts and culture industry is essential to the well-being of Arizona as a whole. Thankfully, Arizona has embraced this concept, welcoming establishments like MIM.

Don't miss the "Women Who Rock: Vision, Passion Power" Exhibit. 
Housed in MIM's Target Gallery until April 20, 2014. Photo courtesy of MIM.

Although my career playing the violin ended unceremoniously in the fifth grade, I can tell you that MIM is an enjoyable destination for all levels of musicians and music aficionados. If you have a free afternoon, I encourage you to head over to the museum and explore

MIM truly is a gem in the crown of Arizona’s arts and culture segment.

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