The Global Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix, Arizona, is the largest museum of its type in the world. The Museum, which opened in April, 2010, was founded by Robert J. Ulrich, former CEO and chairman of Target Corporation.
The Museum features exhibits and instruments for every country in the world, with over 16,000 items in it’s collection, of which 6500 are on display.
Like this Alphorn, from Switzerland
The exhibit for each section features a flat screen high-resolution video showing local musicians performing on native instruments. We listen to the performances through a wireless guidePORT and headphones that are activated automatically when an exhibit is being observed. There are about 250 of these exhibits. As you approach the exhibit, the guidePORT automatically picks up the sound signal, as you walk away it drops the signal and picks up the signal for the next exhibit you approach. Now that was cool.
You can see the instruments, and watch and hear them played in the video.
The oldest object in the museum is this Paigu (goblet drum) from Shaanxi, China. Made around 4000 BC.
The skin of an animal would be stretched over the rim and tied to the hooks on the side. No video of this being played.
Let’s not forget the Gong, from Tibet:
Wasn’t there a show about that?
From Israel, they had the Shofar, the only biblical instrument continuously in use since ancient times.
Some countries I never heard of, like Cameroon, in Africa:
For each Country they had a map of it’s location, the actual instruments, and the video. They had every Country in the World, including North Korea.
There were also sections devoted to specific types of musical instruments, like bag pipes, accordions, harmonicas, violins, pianos, Saxophones, trumpets, etc.
For the gallery of the United States, they had exhibits on music from different regions, like Appalachia and Cajun, as well as styles of music: Folk, Blues, Jazz, Bluegrass, Country, Rock & Roll, and of course, Taiko.
Then there was a gallery on mechanical instruments, like music boxes and this nickelodeon:
So put another nickel in, in the nickelodeon.
Let’s not forget the universal instruments, like the air guitar and whisky jug:
Going through a museum like this makes you realize how much you don’t know about different countries and the people that inhabit them.