On our travels across the country last summer, as well as our trip to Arizona last winter, we spent quite a bit of time traipsing around various museums. From Old West Jails to recreated British and French Forts; from the Canadian Museum of Civilization to the Studebaker museum, we pretty much saw it all last year.
As we really considered that we’d had museum overload we decided to cut back on them this trip. One site that really did catch our interest though was the Musical Instrument Museum – http://themim.org – located about an hour away in North Phoenix. As well as showcasing instruments from around the world they have a busy entertainment schedule which we may yet take advantage of (they do have Albert Lee there next week after all).
The layout of the museum walks you through most of the countries in the world and highlights the indigenous music from each and every one of them. We were given headphones so that we could hear the various styles of music from each country. It’s interesting to view countries that are side by side and you notice the similarities and differences in the instruments and music that has developed in them. One item that seemed to be in all the displays were drums, and most every culture has some sort of guitar and violin or at least something that looks like a guitar or violin. It’s interesting to see how stringed instruments were built with anywhere from 1 to 25 strings. I’d hate to try and keep the larger units in tune! It was also interesting to see harmonicas and violins with resonators built in.
The museum itself is vast, and by the time we were finished walking through the various exhibit halls we were bushed. I think we have to build up our ‘museum legs’ again.
The guitar on the left is a PRS special edition, and while I’m sure it sounds great, the unit built out of the Castrol oil can from South Africa actually sounded pretty good.
Yes, I snuck a pic of Sylvia enjoying our musical adventure!