Musical Instrument Museum (Phoenix)

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Musical Instrument Museum
MIM PHX 2011-04-26 0128 edited1.jpg
Established April 2010
Location Phoenix, Arizona
Coordinates 33°40′03″N 111°58′43″W / 33.667454°N 111.978671°W / 33.667454; -111.978671
Type Music

The Musical Instrument Museum (MIM) is located in Phoenix, Arizona. Opened in April 2010, [1] it is the largest museum of its type in the world. The collection of over 15,000 musical instruments and associated objects includes examples from nearly 200 countries and territories, representing every inhabited continent. Some larger countries such as India, China, Russia, the United States and Brazil have multiple displays with subsections for different types of ethnic, folk, and tribal music.


The Museum was founded by Robert J. Ulrich, former CEO and chairman of Target Corporation. An avid collector of African art and a world museum enthusiast, Ulrich and his friend Mr. Felix originated the idea after a visit to the Instrument Museum in Brussels, Belgium.

The contemporary building covers approximately 200,000 square-feet, with two floors of light-filled galleries. Built at a cost of over $250 million, it creates an exciting musical experience for visitors. The exhibit for each country features a high-resolution video showing local musicians performing on native instruments. Visitors can listen to the performances through wireless headphones that are activated automatically when an exhibit is being observed.

The facility contains a 299-seat theater for concerts, which are held primarily after regular hours. Joshua Bell recorded his album "French Impressions" in the theater in 2011. [2] There is also a cafe with both indoor and outdoor seating.[3]

A large number of musical luminaries have appeared at MIM, including Motown's Martha Reeves, Lyle Lovett, Rockabilly Queen Wanda Jackson, American Idol winner Jordin Sparks, Ronnie Spector, jazz legend Ramsey Lewis, and Grammy-award winner George Benson.



  • The Artist Gallery - Instruments, video concert footage, photographs, performance outfits, and other special items linked to world-renowned musicians and music innovators. The gallery currently includes exhibits for musical icons such as Elvis Presley®, Pablo Casals, John Lennon, King Sunny Adé, Taylor Swift, and many others from around the world.
  • The Experience Gallery - MIM’s unique Experience Gallery invites guests of all ages to touch, play, and hear a changing array of instruments from many different cultures. Guests do more than have fun trying their hand at new instruments. They participate in music being dramatically brought to life.
  • The Mechanical Music Gallery - MIM’s Mechanical Music Gallery features a selection of musical instruments such as player pianos, mechanical zithers, and cylinder music boxes that, by definition, “play themselves.”
  • The Target Gallery - The Target Gallery complements the museum’s permanent collection with exciting and informative traveling shows, special engagements, and changing exhibitions.
  • The Conservation Lab - Seen through a large viewing window, MIM’s Conservation Lab gives guests a behind-the-scenes glimpse at collection maintenance and preservation.
  • Café Allegro - Open from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Café Allegro serves a daily-changing menu of foods prepared from scratch, using fresh, local ingredients. Stations feature global cuisine, local and regional dishes, grilled specialties, freshly made soups and salads, and delicious desserts.
  • Museum Store - The Museum Store is open daily to the public during museum hours and offers gift cards, a great selection of books and CDs, instruments, handmade gifts, and more!
  • MIM Music Theater - This world-class concert hall offers an exciting array of concerts by artists from every corner of the globe.

UPPER LEVEL: MIM’s collection is presented in Geographical Galleries that focus on five major world regions. These are:

  • The Africa and Middle East gallery, which displays instruments and artifacts from sub-Saharan, North African, and Middle Eastern nations.
  • The Asia and Oceania gallery, which features instruments from countries and island group sin five sub-galleries devoted to regions of East Asia, South Asia, Southeast Asia, Oceania, and Central Asia and the Caucasus.
  • The Europe gallery, where guests encounter instruments ranging from an antique charter horn and a foot-operated drum kit to a child’s vessel flute.
  • The Latin America gallery, which features instruments and ensembles displayed in three sub-galleries: South America; Central America and Mexico; and the Caribbean.
  • The United States/Canada gallery, where guests can observe the diverse array of instruments that shaped the North American musical landscape, including the Appalachian dulcimer, sousaphone, ukulele, and electric guitar. Special exhibits focus on iconic American musical-instrument manufacturers, including Fender, Martin, and Steinway.

Officers and management[edit]

Currently, the Board of Directors includes seven people. The Founders Wall was created in 2010, when the Museum was completed, and features the names of actual founders, in addition to those who gave significant gifts.

  • Founder and Board Chairman – Bob J. Ulrich
  • Executive Director - April A. Salomon
  • Deputy Director and Chief Curator - Manuel Jordán, PhD
  • CFO and Director of Operations - Rhonda C. Boyle
  • Director of Marketing – Karen L. Farugia
  • Director of Human Resources - Debbie A. Garnett
  • Director of Development – Maureen M. O'Brien
  • Artistic Director, MIM Music Theater - Lowell F. Pickett



External links[edit]