AAA Editor Notes
Musical Instrument Museum is at 4725 E. Mayo Blvd. The museum boasts an extensive collection of more than 16,000 musical instruments and associated objects, at least 6,500 of which are on display at any given time. Upon arrival you'll don a wireless headset that picks up signals transmitted from each exhibit; as you walk toward an exhibit you'll hear the sounds of the instruments displayed.
In the Orientation Gallery on the ground floor, the exhibit “Guitars. Many Forms, Many Countries” features 22 wall-mounted guitars and 8 displayed on stands, including an 1800 English lute guitar. Just beyond the guitars you'll see a 12-foot tall octobass, a sūrbahār, an alphorn, a saxello, an accordion and other instruments accompanied by identification plaques that explain each instrument's construction. Upstairs in the Rock and Roll exhibit are a 12-string Rickenbacker 360 (think The Beatles) and a 1978 Ibanez Iceman (think KISS).
You can test your music-making skills in the Experience Gallery, admire instruments donated by or on loan from renowned musicians in the Artist Gallery and view temporary exhibits in the Target Gallery. The Elvis exhibit in the Artist Gallery, done in conjunction with Elvis Presley Enterprises, features a changing array of instruments and artifacts centering on The King.
Upstairs, five galleries are divided almost continentally: Africa and the Middle East, Asia and Oceania, Latin America (including Mexico and the Caribbean), North America (U.S. and Canada) and Europe. Each gallery has displays devoted to the music of individual countries. Asian dombras and dutars (long-necked lutes), Guatemalan marimbas, Tibetan dungchen (giant copper trumpets), and an enormous exhibit of Fender guitars are among the many instruments on display.
A 300-seat theater brings live performances and workshops to kids and adults. For a more intimate experience, however, find a musician giving a teaching demonstration as part of the Museum Encounters program.
Guided tours are available. Food is available. Time: Allow 2 hours minimum.