Every big city has an arts museum, most have a natural history museum, and a regional history museum, and when you roam around the world for a few years it’s hard to really be excited about these any more. There’s a limit to how many Picassos, Chagalls, and dinosaurs bones you can see before you grow tired. So in recent years I’ve grown a special interest in specialty museums, quirky alternative museums that specialize in things we don’t often think about and are rather rare around the world. One of the best such specialty museums I had the pleasure of discovering recently was surprisingly in Phoenix Arizona – the Musical Instruments Museum. It’s a simple idea, really, a collection of all the musical instruments from around the world. Once you start walking through this museum it becomes clear just how ignorant we’ve become in the modern era to all the possibilities of music and cultural variations in music. There’s so much that’s out there in the world that goes beyond the western centric commercial music taste we’ve come to embrace. I spent almost a whole day going between countries, looking at the instruments and watching the extremely interesting videos documenting the different types of music developed in different parts of the world by different world cultures, it was a fascinating journey reminding me just how little I’ve seen of the world and that there’s so much more to experience. In fact, this isn’t just a ‘musical instruments’ museum, this is a world culture museum, in the one cultural symbol we can all understand and relate to – music.

What a lovely desert treasure of a museum.

 

What’s to see?

 

A million types of guitar looking string based instruments…

 

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Creative use of animal bones…

 

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And many gorgeous instruments …

 

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The museum is separated to different continents…

 

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 Musical Instruments Museum Phoenix Arizona-011

 

And it was very interesting to see what they chose for each country, take Israel for example…

 

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Musical Instruments Museum Phoenix Arizona-015

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I know a thing or two about Israel, but I can’t really say that these instruments are very common there. It is true, however, that these instruments are in use by different ethnic groups, and are somewhat unique to the cultural heritage of those ethnic groups.

 

 Musical Instruments Museum Phoenix Arizona-020

 Musical Instruments Museum Phoenix Arizona-021

 

Another area of the world I’m relatively familiar with…

 

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Still, endless instruments and music sounds I’ve never heard before. A real treat.

 

The museum also offers a music room for you to go in and experiment with some of the instruments, a world of excitement for kids… like me 😛

 

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Musical Instruments Museum Phoenix Arizona-044

 

Location:

 

Don’t miss this when you’re in Phoenix.



Tags: Arizona; culture; instruments; museum; music; Musical Instruments Museum; Phoenix; specialty museum; world cultures;


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