Visiting the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix

While back in my home town of Phoenix, Arizona over the holidays I took a long-overdue trip to the Musical Instrument Museum, recently constructed on what was once a swatch of desert near the house I grew up in.

Built by RSP Architects, the 190,000-square-foot museum houses the world’s largest collection of musical instruments, and celebrates the history and impact of music on a global scale. Built to compliment the surrounding desert landscape, the museum opened in 2010.

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The central circulation space on the ground floor connects the courtyards, theater, and galleries. Large windows allow the desert sunshine to seep in.

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A model of the MIM, designed by RSP Architects, is on display in the lobby.
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On the second floor, visitors can enter vast gallery spaces dedicated to different regions of the world.

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The curvilinear forms in the museum references the flow of music and shapes common to the instruments it houses.

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Visitors are given a wireless headset equipped with a sensor, so when they approach a display, they can hear the instruments being played. Videos accompany many of the looped audio tracks.

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Gallery spaces are organized by region of the world, and were kept simple to allow the complexity of the instruments to stand out.

All photos by Cody Calamaio.

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