I truly enjoy taking photographs in museums as regular readers can attest. Normally I just grab a few shots walking through the galleries, but when my brother described the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix, he was so enthusiastic about it so I had to visit and turn it into a self-assignment. He said I would thank him later … I did. MIM was founded by Bob Ulrich, then CEO of Target. His idea was to create a museum that would focus on musical instruments from around the globe reflecting the rich diversity and history of music in many cultures.  At this time the museum’s collection has more than 8,000 instruments from more than 200 countries. 

A fan favorite is the Artists’ Gallery at MIM. Instruments used by 40 music luminaries are shown along with video presentations about them. I captured 8 of my favorite pieces. If you were to visit the gallery you would find Roberta Flack’s piano, Buddy Rich’s drums, an Elvis collection, George Benson’s guitar and an exhibit commemorating Woodstock.

For full screen display, click on the photograph

Eric Clapton

Jimmy Hendrix

Johnny Cash

Carlos Santana

Roy Orbison

Pablo Casals

Prince’s piano

Tito Puente drums

MIM is mostly about those 8,000 instruments. As you might expect, I didn’t have the time or stamina to capture all of them, so I picked about 40 and culled it down to this group. One of my favorites is this grand piano. It’s intricate carving, cherubs and other elements like the foot pedals, are exquisite.

For me, brass is the bling of musical instruments. C.G. Conn of Elkhart Indiana made horns with intricate designs. This is the 48K Gold Plated Jumbo model Sousaphone. If you look closely on the bell you will see the legend “World’s Best Band Instrument Manufacturer.” I suppose that is no worse than the alligator logo on Lacoste shirts. 

Here are more instruments I found particularly interesting. 

1st Electric Amped Guitar

King George Vibraharp

Ngbandi people Harps. Central Africa 1850

Patent Harp Guitar by Emilius  Scherr, Philadelphia 1834

Plucked Lute, Turkey

Side Blown Trumpet, Republic of the Congo


Some of my other favorites …

Dragon Guitar by Paul Reed Smith

Spanish American Strings

If you find yourself in Phoenix do yourself a solid and visit MIM. Plan on spending several hours. They do have a nice little cafe where you can recharge and if you are there on a weekend (I wasn’t) you can take in a concert as well. 

To order prints please send an email to dweckphoto@gmail.com

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