Yesterday we spent several hours at the Musical Instrument Museum. It is one of the most unique museums I have ever visited.
This instrument mobile was the lobby feature. Just off the lobby is the museum cafe which has received excellent reviews. Since we arrived at noon we each had a fresh roll and a bowl of soup, South African Sweet Potato for me and Garden Kale with chorizo sausage for Dave in the sunny dining room. The soup was great and after sampling each others we couldn’t decide which was the best.
these bells from Mongolia
I was especially interested in the instruments from Ukraine because this last summer Dave and I went to a concert of traditional Ukrainian music in Lviv.
You wear earphones when you go through the museum and as you stop in front of each exhibit you watch a video of musicians from the featured country playing and you can hear their music through your earphones.
In another section of the museum you can see instruments owned and used by famous musicians. This is the piano John Lennon used to write his song Imagine.
Here is Elvis Presley’s army uniform with a set of drums given to him by his wife Priscilla whom he met when he was stationed in Germany.
I especially enjoyed listening to John Denver describe how he wrote the song This Old Guitar about the guitar in the display case which had been a gift from his grandmother.
Seeing one of the drums that were played by hundreds of men at the opening ceremonies of the 2008 Olympics reminded me of watching that ceremony in Hong Kong with an older Chinese Canadian woman who had left China and immigrated to Canada just prior to the Cultural Revolution. “For the first time in my life I am proud of my country”, she said to me with tears in her eyes.
Here Dave plays a Chinese gong in the section of the museum where visitors can try out all kinds of instruments.
Dave tried an electronic instrument that you played simply by moving your hands up and down near the machines.
There are weekly concerts and special lectures about music at the museum. There are also feature exhibits that change regularly and we could see that new sections were being added to the museum – so you can visit repeatedly and see new things. The Musical Instrument Museum or MIM as it is affectionately called advertises itself as the “most extraordinary museum you can listen to.” It was!