Museum shows music is the fabric of a culture

Musical Instrument Museum
The Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix, Ariz.

PHOENIX, Ariz. — To say music is the fabric of a culture takes on a whole new meaning at the Musical Instrument Museum (MIM).

This 200,000-square-foot museum features more than 15,000 instruments from 200-plus countries, ranging from the common to the obscure to the extreme. The $250 million museum opened in April 2010.

“The goal of the Musical Instrument Museum is to illuminate what is unique about cultures, and also what is shared and universal,” Bob Ulrich, MIM founder and board chair, said in a news release. “MIM provides 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.”

To bring the instruments to life, the museum uses a combination of wireless technology and high-resolution videos. As guests approach video screens, they can listen to and watch videos that show performances involving the instruments on display.

“MIM makes an important contribution to the international museum community, to the study of ethnomusicology, and to the education and enjoyment of all of our visitors,” Bill DeWalt, MIM president and director, said in a news release. “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. At MIM, a diverse audience is able to experience music that is both surprising and personal.”

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Todd DeFeo loves to travel anywhere, anytime, taking pictures and notes. An award-winning reporter, Todd revels in the experience and the fact that every place has a story to tell. He is the owner of The DeFeo Groupe and also edits Express Telegraph and