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.


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


A model of the MIM, designed by RSP Architects, is on display in the lobby.

On the second floor, visitors can enter vast gallery spaces dedicated to different regions of the world.


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


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.


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.

Comments are closed.