One of the places that anyone has to visit in Phoenix is the Musical Instrument Museum. It’s located in the northern-most reaches of Phoenix proper, but going there is a must. It is, to my surprise, the only global musical instrument museum in the world. And when they say it is a global instrument museum, they truly mean global.
World Musical Instruments
The museum gives you a receiver and headset when you begin. Whenever you walk in front of a TV, your receiver will automatically tune into that TV so you can hear what is playing. This is often samples of the music from the region you are looking at. Every part of the world is represented and the collection of audio recordings is astounding. I saw Maori hakas, Tuvan throat singing, Indonesian shadow puppetry, steel drum production, Peruvian scissor dances, and so much more. The amount of information in the museum is staggering; I overheard one of the docents tell a gentleman that there are over 13 hours of recordings in the museum to see alone. Here are just a few of the pictures I was able to snap in my time there:
Dragons & Vines
There was also a special exhibit on the art of inlay. This is when artists take synthetic or organic materials (such as abalone shell) to create beautiful works of art embedded into a musical instrument, typically a guitar. The multimedia approach worked wonderfully, and being able to see the steps in the process along the walls really added to the experience. The museum even gave us little flashlights so we could see the inlay reflect light from different angles, highlighting the finer details in the work.
Overall, this is a must-see for anyone in the area! The admission is relatively cheap ($20 for an adult, special exhibits an extra $7) and you could literally spend all day there and not see everything. A must-do for anyone visiting Phoenix!