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Musical Instrument Museum
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Musical Instrument Museum

Collection/Program Scope and Focus

The Musical Instrument Museum is a global collection of musical instruments with supporting documentation, including written contextual data on the instruments, their makers, and the communities that use them, with audio and video recordings to illustrate performance practice and social use.

Special Resources

In addition to instrument collections, the Musical Instrument Museum has a conservation lab, a media lab, and a theater with full studio recording capabilities.

Full-Time Staff

Matthew Hill. MA in organology, Edinburgh University, 2005; primary curatorial responsibility: North America; primary research area: history of the electric guitar.

Christina Linsenmeyer. PhD in musicology, Washington University in Saint Louis, 2009; primary curatorial responsibility: Europe; primary research area: historicism and the cultural history of violin making in Europe.

Jennifer Post. PhD in ethnomusicology and South Asian Studies, University of Minnesota, 1982; primary curatorial responsibility: Asia, North Africa, Middle East, Oceania; primary research areas: Inner Asian landscape and music; South Asian music.

Amanda Villepastour. PhD in ethnomusicology, SOAS, 2006; primary curatorial responsibility: Africa; research areas: Nigerian and Cuban batá drumming.

General Collection/Program Statement

The Musical Instrument Museum pays homage to the familiar and unfamiliar sounds of the world’s cultures as expressed through music—music that has been used in rites, festivals, ceremonies, or just for listening pleasure. This unique museum is also a world-class center for ethnomusicology.

No other musical instrument collection in the world can fascinate and inspire its guests quite like MIM. The museum provides a place where people of diverse backgrounds can experience instruments and music from cultures around the world. This experience not only reinforces what is unique about cultures, but also what they share. It helps us to understand the musical contributions of global cultures and people’s expression of life, art, and ritual.

Chosen from each of the countries and territories of the world, the approximately ten thousand instruments at MIM represent the music of people from all walks of life—from the instruments played in the courts of kings to the locally crafted instruments cherished by families across the globe.

Wireless technology immerses guests in the sound of the instruments, while they gain historical and cultural perspectives through photographs and other contextual materials. Video on high-resolution flat screens also gives visitors the rare opportunity to see instruments performed — a sight often as impressive as the sound the instruments make. Many instruments are displayed outside of cases so they can be easily viewed. Workshops show how certain instruments are made, and an Experience Gallery gives visitors the opportunity to touch, play, and hear instruments from diverse ethnic cultures.

The 299-seat music theater at the Museum is hosting international, national, and local musical performances. The Museum has also established an education and outreach program that area schools and other community members will have access to beginning in Fall 2010.

The Musical Instrument Museum opened its doors to the public in April 2010. Its curators will continue to collect, document, and contribute to the development of new designs for exhibits that represent a wide range of musical traditions from every corner of the globe.

Fellowships, Internships, and Other Support

Internships for organology, ethnomusicology, musicology, media studies, and library science students may be available beginning in late 2010.

Further Information

Jennifer Post, Associate Curator of Musical Instruments, Musical Instrument Museum, 4725 E Mayo Blvd, Phoenix, AZ 85050 USA; 480-478-6059; Main line 480-478-6000; Email: jennifer.post@themim.org

Amanda Villepastour, Assistant Curator of Musical Instruments, Musical Instrument Museum, 4725 E Mayo Blvd, Phoenix, AZ 85050 USA; 480-478-6068; Email: amanda.villepastour@themim.org

Collection Program Website: http://www.themim.org

The content for Musical Instrument Museum was last updated June 23, 2010.

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