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Musical Instrument Museum, MIM in Phoenix Arizona

Updated on October 24, 2012

Musical Instrument Museum, MIM Entrance

Desert Entrance to the world famous MIM.
Desert Entrance to the world famous MIM. | Source

Music is the Language of Your Soul


Visit the MIM

The MIM, Musical Instrument Museum, is a celebration of the diversity of the world’s music and musical instruments. Every continent and every people have their music. The MIM is all about the importance of music.

Music is located deep within the brain. Music is extremely personal and deeply emotional to us. Whether it is the TV puppets on Fraggle Rock looking for their own particular song/sound (Season One, Episode 18) or Paul Simon telling us that “….and sometimes music cannot substitute for tears” (Paul Simon the Cool Cool River), we all know our own personal music.

Fraggle Rock "Find Your Own Song"

Paul Simon, When music cannot substitute for tears.....

John Lennon's "Imagine" piano


At the MIM you will explore the music from your life and the world. You will also expand your understanding of other people and their culture through their music.

Further, I will wager that you will be mesmerized towards and by a display somewhere in the museum. Whether you cannot pull yourself away from the Paul Simon display or the John Lennon display on the first floor, or the making of your favorite instrument as illustrated on the second floor, or the wonderful sound of an instrument heard through the audio device provided by the museum, you will have a few minutes where everything ceases but that experience. That is what a good museum does. The MIM is an extraordinary museum by that measurement.



Guitars on Display


Guitars on Display


Gourmet Cafe

Not your average museum Cafe!
Not your average museum Cafe! | Source

Mechanical Music Makers

This is a one piano band.
This is a one piano band. | Source

Hands On

Play the Indonesian Bells or bang a gong!
Play the Indonesian Bells or bang a gong! | Source

Explore the MIM

The ground level is the location of special displays that highlight American manufacturers and special exhibits. The guitar display was one of the special displays during one of my visits.

It was fascinating to see both the typical guitars from famous makers such as Gibson and the actual guitars that musical legends like Dick Dale played. There were dozens of types of guitars that were arranged in historical significance. The era of the modern guitar was well represented by both makers and the actual instruments of iconic musicians.

Next, is the Artist Gallery. The Artist Gallery invokes memories of iconic performers and musical moments through the use of video, audio, and actual musical instruments used by the innovators, and renowned musicians of our era.

John Lennon’s piano is on full display with an accompanying video of his music and words. It has to be behind plexi-glass, I would assume, because it just begs to be touched! I lingered at the John Lennon exhibit in order to hear the audio part several times. The material was very rich.

The same thing happened to me at the Paul Simon exhibit. It was comprised a video and the accompanying audio of the iconic music in Central Park Concert by Paul Simon.

Also, on the lower level you will find the Experience Gallery where there are many hands-on opportunities to play many kinds of instruments. Both kids and adults find this hard to resist!

There is also a Mechanical Music Gallery that features a peculiar selection of instruments that are designed to play on their own. These instruments go far beyond the simple player piano as some are very large and very complicated.

The Target ® Corporation has a gallery that hosts temporary and traveling exhibits. Currently, in October 2012 the Target Gallery is featuring Portraits from the Golden Age of Jazz. Check the web site for an update of what you will find in the Target® Gallery.

Also, on the lower level is a conservation laboratory where instruments are preserved and repaired. There is also a MIM Theater where concerts are routinely held. For a schedule of concerts and prices please see the web site: You can plan a visit to coincide with a performance.

The lower level also is where you will find the Coffee Shop and the Café. Please note that the MIM has a chef and some extraordinary dining opportunities. This is not the snack shop with bags of processed food that you may remember from your school museum visits. Even the potato chips are made in the Chef’s kitchen and are wonderful. Bon appetite!

Beijing Olympic Drummer Spectacular

Experience the Beijing Drummers on video with excellent audio.
Experience the Beijing Drummers on video with excellent audio. | Source

Taiko Display from Japan


Taiko Video with Audio

Excellent sound but not the same teeth rattling effect of an actual performance.
Excellent sound but not the same teeth rattling effect of an actual performance. | Source

Upper Level of the MIM

The upper level is where the Geographical Galleries are located. The instruments are presented by regions. Each display has carefully documented the instruments being played in their cultural context. The museum provides personal audio devices for each visitor upon entry. You see and hear the music from each continent.

Europe, the United States, Latin American, Oceania, Southeast Asia, East Asia, South Asia, Central Asia, the Middle East and Africa are all well represented in their own museum display rooms.

One example is of Taiko drums from Japan. It is an experience to attend a Taiko Drum performance. The sound permeates your very being. The performers are extremely active.

Yes, you may attend the MIM for only one day but I recommend a two day visit. Spend one day ‘doing’ the museum in the order of the floors. The second day can take you back to your favorite exhibits. Perhaps you can plan a visit on the day of a performance that you want to see.

The MIM is a privately owned and operated museum. The October 2012 cost of entry is $18.00 per person. Here is the web site for current basic information:

The MIM is located in north Phoenix, AZ, USA, at 4725 E. Mayo Blvd, Phoenix, AZ85050. It is on the corner of Tatum and Mayo Boulevards, just south of the Loop 101 in Phoenix. Here is a nice map.


MIM ~ Museum of Instrument Museum

A marker4725 E. Mayo Boulevard, Phoenix, AZ -
4725 E Mayo Blvd, Phoenix, AZ 85050, USA
get directions


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    • NMLady profile image

      NMLady 5 years ago from New Mexico & Arizona

      I would have loved to just touched it!!!

    • ChrisReda profile image

      Chris Reda 5 years ago from NYC

      I wouldn't mind playing on John's piano.