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Musical Instrument Museum – A Tour of the World through Music

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The Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix, Arizona gives a glimpse into the world’s people through the music we create, love, and dance to. I thought a visit would involve silently walking the halls, staring at clarinets and trombones, and reading standard museum text. Instead, visitors don headphones that come to life with music and narration when an exhibit is approached. Musical diversity appears before your ears and eyes with songs and videos of concerts and dances, colorful displays of familiar and unusual instruments, plus traditional costumes and huge photographs. Children and adults even get a hands-on opportunity to make music with a variety of instruments from around the world.

Musical Instrument Museum Music is the Language of the Soul
A sign welcoming visitors to the Musical Instrument Museum announces, “Music is the language of the Soul.”

Musical Instrument Museum Mongolia
Mongolia’s musical display in the Geographic Galleries features traditional costumes, instruments, and video.

Musical Instrument Museum Rain Dance
Here is an up-close look at Tenovoim (leg rattles) in a Southwest United States display. These instruments are made from giant moth cocoons, pebbles, cotton, and animal skin. They sounds like rain when worn by Pascola and Deer dancers.

John Lennon Imagine Piano
Listen to John Lennon’s “Imagine” at this display in the Artist Gallery containing the upright piano on which he composed the famous song.

John Lennon Imagine Piano
The Mechanical Museum Gallery features instruments designed to play on their own, like phonographs, jukeboxes, and these player pianos.

John Lennon Imagine Piano
The Experience Gallery provides a noisy and exuberant finale to a Musical Instrument Museum visit.

As someone who loves to travel and experience other cultures, visiting this museum was a wondrous buffet of the world’s cultures. You can read about a country’s history and see its artifacts, but to hear its music and watch its people dance in joy – that brings the essence of its people to life.

What unique attraction or museum do you recommend to other Travel Mamas and Travel Daddies? Please share your thoughts in the comments!

About Colleen Lanin

Colleen Lanin is the founder/editor-in-chief of As the author of her book, "The Travel Mamas' Guide," she teaches parents not only how to survive a trip with children, but also how to love exploring the world with their offspring. Her stories have appeared online and in print for such outlets as the "Today" show,, Parenting Magazine, Orlando Sentinel, Chicago Tribune, Expedia, San Diego Family Magazine, and more. Colleen gives tips on television, radio, and as a public speaker. She has a master’s degree in business administration with a background in marketing. She lives in Arizona with her husband and two kids.

  1. This looks like a really fun place to take children of all ages. I know my two-year-old would love it. Thanks for sharing!

  2. The retired president of Target Stores was the leading influence behind the museum. It is really first class. We have been there 3 times and always discover something new. There is even a music theatre where they offer live concerts.

  3. This museum looks like so much fun!

  4. Stephanie Su says

    What a nice place to go out with your family! The kids will love this and will appreciate music and other cultures 🙂


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