April 6, 2011

MIM - Phoenix's Musical Instrument Museum

A few weeks ago, friends invited us to the MIM. We have been wanting to visit for a while, so we were excited as we packed up our four and two-year-old girls and met our friends and their two-year-old. If you love music and you're looking for cool ways to while away the time as the weather heats up, this may be the perfect option for you.

But, what is MIM, you ask? It's a museum that showcases music and instruments from around the world. Not only does the beautiful building house an incredible collection of instruments from many different countries and eras, the museum offers workshops, lectures, films and concerts as well. They also host museum encounters in which artist-teachers perform and interact with guests for 30 minutes. The encounters cost nothing beyond the admission fee. A quick zoom around MIM's website reveals a lot of fun opportunities to learn about music - including free instructor lesson plans.

Since both dads in our parties are guitarists(aka - rock stars!), we started in the guitar room. I think my husband might be happy to live there! The guys talked tech about the different instruments - bridges and frets and resonance while we girls picked the guitars we thought were the prettiest. My four-year-old found a guitar made by Daisy, which is the same company that made her little electric heart guitar. So fun!

MIM presents information using the best of tactile and technical mediums. I loved that the instruments are displayed in a manner that allowed us to be only a few feet away from them. This made it so easy to really look at the instruments. The room we visited (besides guitars) presented the instruments and music of different countries. And, the MIM's headphones provide access to the sounds and styles of music from each country displayed on video screens near each exhibit. It was truly a dizzying array of instruments and an incredible amount of information.

Cool beaded instrument.

This history lover wanted to stand in front of each display and read every word and study every instrument in depth. Unfortunately for me, my two-year-old had other ideas!! She wanted to jump onto the displays and use them for a "stage" - which was easy since the barriers were more decorative than practical. You can imagine that I spent more time running after her than I did reading.

After about ten minutes of futilely attempting to corral two two-year-olds and enjoy reading the signs, we gave up and went to the MIM Experience Room.The Experience Room is filled with lots of instruments that the kids (big ones too!) can use to fulfill their fantasies of playing the instruments! Both of our girls and our friends' daughter had a blast running around playing all kinds of instruments from guitars to drums, percussion instruments to a gigantic gong (which you're only allowed to hit once!). They also had a blast dancing in some of the other areas of the museum where we could listen to different kinds of music.

Overall, the MIM gets a big thumbs up from me. For the admission price, the MIM is a great deal. The building is beautiful and the collection of instruments is truly incredible. I plan to go back without my two-year-old so I can indulge my desire to read every placard and listen to every recording and really soak in the experience. But, even with a small friend along, it was fun and my girls thought it was amazing. Best of all, mamas, it was air-conditioned and kids under five get in free!

1 comment:

  1. Joe and I were just there last Friday. It was awesome.


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