For those that know me well, you know I'm not a museum guy. Most times when forced to go to an art or history museum, I blow through it like it's on fire, much to the annoyance of the more thoughtful people around me. However, this was not the case when I visited my favorite museum ever, The Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix!
I realize this is a baseball blog, but to me, baseball and music are inextricably linked more than most other sports with the exception of soccer, where the fans sing and chant throughout the entire game. I'll always remember when I went to Wrigley Field with a French director who was taking in his first-ever baseball game. As the top of the seventh came to a close, I stood up along with everyone else and said, "OK, now we stand up and sing." He looked bewildered and asked "Why?" i said, "I don't know, just get up and do it!" He loved every second of the song and the musical culture that surrounds our national past time. From "The National Anthem" until "Go Cubs Go" (hopefully), fans at Wrigley are treated to prerecorded popular songs, musical chanting and clapping, and of course, Gary Pressy's iconic organ.
So, I came to Mesa to watch baseball, and lots of it, but that only fills three hours of the day. What to do with some of the rest of your time? Go to the Musical Instrument Museum. (Best Museum Ever)
At first, I balked at the idea of paying $20 for a museum, but my Mom was in town and said she'd spring for the tickets. How could I say no?!
When you enter, they give you a transmitter with earphones, and as you stand close to each numbered display you can hear and watch on a flat screen TV some of the exotic instruments from all over the world being played at festivals, concerts, tribal pow wows, weddings, really, anywhere and everywhere in the world, on thousands of different instruments. This museum has amassed an amazing collection of sounds, footage, and beautiful hand crafted sound makers of all shapes and sizes. It's so dense that I only made it through three continents and a display of a two-ton barrel organ. They also have musical celebrity memorabilia like Dick Dale's Guitar and surfboard, Elvis costumes, and even a whole wall dedicated to Taylor Swift in case you're dragging a disgruntled teen along on this trip!
The museum also offers delicious overpriced food and a cafe. It won't be cheap however. Lunch for three cost $50. But at least it tasted good and the grounds were a nice place to take a shady break from the instrument overload. Besides, you should be used to overpriced food as a baseball fan!
There's also a room where you can play gamelan gongs, banjos, drums, xylophones, the list goes on and on! Unfortunately, during my visit, the room was taken over by a Texas junior high girl's choir. I was going to try and play "Go Cubs Go" on a thumb piano, but I didn't last five minutes in the din of pre-teen musical experimentation.
Unfortunately, there are no discounts right now. Trust me, I looked. Kids under three are free and there are varying lesser prices for kids of other ages. MIM's also not very close to Sloan Park, about a 30-minute drive north. But I assure you, it is by far the greatest museum I've ever visited. If you're down in this area, I highly recommend a trip to the Musical Instrument Museum. Then you'll have something to talk about at the Cubs game the next day!
I didn't want to include too many photos so as not to spoil it for ya! But check out the demonstration of this crazy automated two-on dance band!