We recently had the opportunity to visit the Musical Instrument Museum® (“MIM”) in Phoenix, and our kids cannot stop talking about it! With a variety of galleries, special exhibits, and an incredible museum store, MIM has something for people of all ages!
If you aren’t quite ready to head to the museum in person, they also offer a wide variety of virtual events that you can participate in from home. Keep reading to learn all about their incredibly fun Online Musical Adventures classes for children!
Getting Started at the Musical Instrument Museum
Once you arrive at MIM and check in at the front desk, they’ll provide each person with their own headset. These headsets are used in various galleries throughout the museum, and act as your “guide” for each section. As you stand in front of specific displays, the headphones automatically play whatever sound goes with that display. They even had kids sizes, and our children loved walking around with their very own headset!
With so many galleries and exhibits offered at MIM, it’s helpful to have an idea of what to expect in each of them prior to visiting. Here’s a virtual map of the museum layout for your reference. Now, let’s go over the various galleries and exhibits!
Exhibits and Galleries
Here’s a list of exhibits and galleries you can visit at MIM. We’ll be covering each of the exhibits in more detail below!
- Congo Masks and Music: Masterpieces from Central Africa
- Geographic Galleries Including:
- Africa and Middle East Gallery
- Asia and Oceania Gallery
- Europe Gallery
- Latin America Gallery
- United States / Canada Gallery
- Artist Gallery
- Experience Gallery
- Mechanical Music Gallery
- Collier STEM Gallery
- Conservation Lab
Congo Masks and Music: Masterpieces from Central Africa
As you start your self-guided tour of the museum, you’ll come to one of their special exhibits. These exhibits are temporary additions to the museum, and feature masterpieces from all over the world! Currently they are hosting “Congo Masks and Music: Masterpieces from Central Africa”. This exhibit will run through September 2021, and features lively traditions from all over Central Africa. Walk through the exhibit to learn about the masks, instruments, and costumes that make up some of the traditions of Central Africa.
Speaking of visiting other countries, the Geographic Galleries give guests an opportunity to travel the entire world through music! These galleries include instruments and artifacts from around the world. Galleries include the Africa and Middle East Gallery, Asia and Oceania Gallery, Europe Gallery, Latin America Gallery, and the United States / Canada Gallery.
For music lovers of all ages, the Artist Gallery celebrates the most influential artists and musicians from around the world. Featuring dozens of artists and instruments, this gallery gives you a chance to hear from some of the greatest musical icons including Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, and more. As you stand in front of each artist’s display, you’ll be able to learn more about the artist and even hear them play their instruments all through your personal headsets.
Another gallery that is sure to be a hit with the children is the Experience Gallery. Here, you get to experience a variety of instruments from around the world firsthand. Kids can explore the gallery as they discover their inner musician, playing instruments like a harp, a theremin, a gong, and more! This hands on gallery is fun for guests of all ages.
Mechanical Music Gallery
The Mechanical Music Gallery features a wide variety of mechanical instruments that play themselves. All of our kids were fascinated by the displays of self-playing instruments throughout this gallery. Perhaps the most intriguing instrument was the Orchestrion. This self-playing instrument is the largest instrument in the Museum. Standing at just over 25 feet long and almost 10 feet tall, the “Apollonia” Orchestrion can be heard live daily at 12:00 PM and 3:00 PM in the Mechanical Music Gallery.
Collier STEM Gallery
Diving deeper into the science and technology of music, the Collier STEM Gallery explores how science brings music to life. In this gallery, guests of all ages will be able to learn more about how science, technology, engineering, and mathematics play a key role in music appreciation and education. Learning about how humans experience music and how an instrument produces certain sounds through interactive technology displays is captivating for the whole family!
With so many instruments and artifacts to care for, MIM’s Conservation Lab gives guests an inside look at how these items are preserved for generations and generations. Conservation is such an important part of making MIM what it is today! Instruments go through a very distinct process of cleaning, restoration, repair, and documentation as they are housed at MIM. The Conservation Lab allows us all to enjoy musical instruments and artifacts from around the world here in Phoenix!
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
MIM does not allow backpacks, food, or beverages in the galleries, so plan accordingly. You may check your backpack at the front desk during your visit if you need to. Cameras are allowed, and we definitely recommend some comfortable shoes because you’ll be on your feet quite a bit!
One of the nicest things about bringing kids to MIM is that they offer stroller rentals for free! So no need to pack up your stroller for those young ones. Simply request a stroller from the front desk and enjoy your visit!
The only discounts offered at MIM are for members. Being a member provides you with free admission to the museum for the entire year, along with several other benefits.
While you could easily spend all day at MIM and never run out of things to explore, a good estimate is about 3 hours long for your visit. If you’ve got young kids, then be sure to let them get their wiggles out playing instruments at the Experience Gallery!
Between the two of us, we have three children under the age of six. I was initially a little bit nervous about bringing my three year old to MIM, because museums don’t usually capture her interest enough to keep her entertained for very long. However, we spent about three hours at MIM and my toddler was still going strong when we left! There’s just so much to look at, so much to do, and so many different galleries to visit. She was fascinated by the different videos throughout the Artist Gallery, and absolutely loved playing the instruments in the Experience Gallery. Kids of all ages will absolutely enjoy visiting MIM!
The Museum Store is filled with items that will interest music lovers of all ages! Available for in person and online shopping, the Museum Store offers books & journals, apparel, instruments, puzzles & games, kids items, music gifts & technology, stationery, jewelry, ornaments, miniature instruments, magnets, gift cards and so much more! Our kids spent a great deal of time exploring all that the museum store has to offer. Be sure to stop by the store during your visit, or shop online here anytime!
The Museum Store can be contacted at 480.478.6002 or via email at email@example.com.
Musical Instrument Museum Circle of Friends Memberships
Benefits of the 1-year family membership include:
- Unlimited museum admission for 2
- Free admission for your accompanied children 19 years & under
- 10% discount at the Museum Store
- Subscription to Quarter Notes, MIM’s quarterly publication
- Recognition at MIM and on MIM.org
- Free admission to MIM Musical Interludes concerts
Check out their various membership options and other ways you can support the museum here. You’re sure to find something that fits your family’s budget!
Musical Adventures Class
MIM now offers online Musical Adventures classes for kids ages 6-10 years.
Musical Adventures is an educational program designed for children to actively participate in music making, crafting musical instruments, and virtually exploring MIM’s exhibits with designated tour guides.
Each registered child is given an instrument-building kit, which can either be mailed or picked up at MIM prior to the class date. These Zoom classes are incredibly engaging and entertaining for everyone involved!
2 of our kids participated in the most recent Musical Adventures class, and they can’t stop talking about the fun they had!
They learned about an instrument called the “Silly Stick”, and they were provided with all the materials needed to make their own. There were countless laughs and smiles as they learned about the different sounds these instruments can make!
Even though the class was virtual, the teacher did a fantastic job at keeping their attention with various visuals, videos, songs, and much more.
Musical Adventures classes take place on the second Saturday of every month from 1:30 PM – 2:30 PM, and cost only $15 per student. The $15 registration fee covers your child’s instrument-building kit, which includes everything they’ll need to build their instrument with the class.
We cannot recommend these classes enough! The next Musical Adventures class will be held April 10th, and can be registered for here.
Important Information About The Musical Instrument Museum
Location & Parking
4725 E Mayo Blvd
Phoenix, AZ 85050
Parking is free
Hours of Operation
MIM is open daily from 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Timed entry tickets will continue through April 30, 2021. We recommend purchasing your tickets in advance to reserve your entry. You can purchase timed entry tickets online HERE or at the guest service desk in the museum lobby.
The Museum Store is open daily in person and online
Cafe Allegro is temporarily closed, but grab-and-go refreshments are available for purchase during regular museum hours.
1 Day Pass
General Admission: $20
Teens (13-19): $15
Children (4-12): $10
Children (3 and under): Free
2 Day Pass
2 day passes are available for purchase at the Guest Service desk.
Special Exhibition Admission
General (w/ Museum Admission): $7
General (without Museum Admission): $10
Children/Teens (4-19): $4
Children (3 and under): Free