The new MIM “Treasures” exhibition presents ancient and legendary instruments


Imagine some of the world’s most valuable and renowned instruments brought together in one room.

Muse is no more.

The Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix will open its new exhibit, “Treasures: Legendary Musical Instruments” on November 12th. The showcase – which is slated to remain open until September 2023 – will feature an curated collection of more than 80 notable, “exceptional” instruments from around the world, museum curator Rich Walter said.

“This exhibition isolates instruments which have particular superlative merit, so that they are either made by the largest manufacturers or the oldest of their kind, they are played by well-known artists themselves,” said Walter.

“Each has a fascinating history as a stand-alone object. You can see that music has been an integral part of people’s lives for thousands and thousands of years and these instruments illustrate it.”

Some of the instruments in the collection date back to 6000 years of history, including an ancient Chinese ceramic drum.

MIM's most recent exhibition is

What to expect from ‘Treasures’

Since its opening in 2010, the Musical Instrument Museum has collected more than 8,000 musical objects from around the world.

“Treasures” will highlight not only the most significant instruments already in the museum, but also instruments from other internationally renowned museums and private collections. Contributing museums include the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, the Penn Museum in Philadelphia and the Museu de la Música de Barcelona (Spain).

Highlights of the exhibition include a Baroque guitar from 1590, the oldest full-size guitar in existence. There is a violin and viola made by master Cremonian luthier Andrea Amati which was probably created for the wedding of King Philip II of Spain and Elisabeth of Valois. There is also a Greco-Roman trumpet, considered the only surviving trumpet from ancient Greece.

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Another highlight of the exhibition is the 6000-year-old Chinese ceramic drum.

“We want people to visit the exhibit and see what their favorites are because they’re all treasures. Everyone has different qualities,” Walter said.

The exhibition will kick off with a packed three-day “signature event” with live music, curatorial talks, workshops and exhibition tours.

“Frequently these instruments are upstairs in their respective places throughout the museum, and so when we concentrate everything in one gallery and amplify it with objects from other collections, it’s a powerful commentary of the music that is part of people’s experience as humans, ”Walter mentioned.

MIM’s Café Allegro has reopened

The museums restaurant-restaurant, Café Allegro, reopened on November 1 after having been closed since March 2020 due to the pandemic. The cafe’s seasonal menu offers local and global cuisine, from taquitos of pork carnitas to fish & chips and Italian meat stromboli.

The seasonal menu changes frequently. Customers can view the full menu the day before their visit on

The museum also opened at the adjacent Beats Coffee Bar in October. Beats offers specialty roasted coffee, espresso and tea drinks, as well as homemade pastries and other breakfast offerings, take-out lunch options, wine, beer, and other goodies from season.

“Treasures: legendary musical instruments”

When: Opening weekend activities from November 12 to 14. Exhibition until September 2023.

Hours: 9 am-5pm

Or: Musical Instrument Museum, 4725 E Mayo Blvd, Phoenix.

Admission: $ 7 with paid admission to the museum; $ 10 for the special exhibition only; $ 4 for 4-19 year olds; free for children 3 and under.

Details: 480-478-6000,

Contact the reporter at [email protected] Follow her on Instagram @ sofia.krusmark

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