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MIM celebrates five years of bringing music to the community

Elizabeth Medora ~ Staff~ 4/15/2015

PHOENIX – The Musical Instrument Museum is celebrating its fifth anniversary this month. The celebration begins Monday, April 20 and runs all week. 

On Saturday, April 25 and Sunday, April 26, the museum will host ‘Experience MIM.’ This weekend celebration will include an opportunity to “speed date” a curator; multiple musical performances; interactive elements such as craft activities, a photo booth, and face painting; complimentary cupcakes for the first 100 guests each day; and a sparkling wine tasting in Café Allegro.

“The Musical Instrument Museum (MIM) opened to the public on April 24, 2010,” said Erin Miller, Media Relations Manager at the museum. Miller provided some background on the inspiration for the Musical Instrument Museum.

“MIM was founded by Robert J. Ulrich, former CEO and chairman emeritus of Target Corporation,” Miller explained. “An avid collector of African art and a world museum enthusiast, Ulrich and his friend Marc Felix originated the idea for MIM after a visit to the Musical Instruments Museum in Brussels, Belgium. Their unique vision was to create a museum and collection that afford equal representation to the musical instruments and music of every country in the world. Using state‐of-the‐art audiovisual technology to show musical instruments being played in their original cultural context and delivering the sound of these instruments through high-quality headphones, MIM provides a one-of‐a‐kind experience to museum guests.”

The Musical Instrument Museum has grown and expanded significantly in the last five years. According to a release issued by the museum, the museum opened with 173 fully installed displays and today has 370 fully installed displays. Over 200 concerts are held yearly in the MIM’s Music Theater.

Further program expansions are coming this year. The museum will be hosting its inaugural summer camp in June. Each weeklong session will offer a unique focus on global culture, highlighting world connections through the power of music, art, and more. In November, MIM will host its second annual global music festival, MIMFest. Attendees can expect more than a dozen distinguished performers on three stages, plus delicious food from local food trucks and fun activities for guests of all ages.

“In five years MIM has already carved a path to being recognized as one of the best museums in the world, but this is just the beginning,” said April Salomon, executive director of MIM. “As a museum in constant evolution, we’re excited to continue fulfilling MIM’s mission and look forward to inspiring and entertaining guests for many years to come.”

Miller listed some of the benefits that MIM has brought to the community over the past five years.

“MIM offers the community a unique museum experience that is both inspiring and entertaining,” Miller emphasized. “First and foremost, MIM is the world’s only global musical instrument museum. With a collection of instruments and associated objects from more than 200 countries and territories, MIM brings instruments to life through technology that enables guests to see and hear them used in their original cultural setting. Furthermore, MIM brings new objects, displays and exhibitions to its galleries on a regular basis, so there is always something new for guests to see.”

Miller noted that the museum has welcomed more than 1.15 million guests and has risen to TripAdvisor’s top-ranked attraction in the Phoenix area.

“Additionally, at a time when arts education is being cut from many Arizona schools, MIM has welcomed more than 140,000 students as part of its school field-trip program,” Miller added.

MIM offers a variety of youth programming. MIMKids programs include weekly classes for children from birth (Mini Music Makers) through high school (Junior Museum Guides). In June of 2015, MIM will also launch its inaugural summer camp for ages 6-13.

“Guests of all ages will also enjoy the monthly Experience series, which transports visitors around the globe,” Miller said. “Each weekend celebration focuses on a unique culture and entertains guests with live musical performances, dancing, storytelling, workshops, and more! This summer and fall the Experience series will showcase Polynesia, France, The Andes, Italy, and Germany.”

Miller noted that the MIM Music Theater has featured artists from all over the world.

“Last but not least, MIM Music Theater features dynamic performances of the finest traditional, contemporary, instrumental, and vocal music worldwide,” Miller said. “MIM hosts more than 200 concerts each year, with performers ranging from Mongolian throat singers and Indian tabla players to Celtic fiddlers and Hawaiian ukulele stars. The roster of talent extends to Judy Collins, Jimmy Webb, Branford Marsalis, Lucinda Williams, Lyle Lovett, and other American legends who have made their own musical imprint on the MIM Music Theater.”

Join the celebration next week and experience the Musical instrument Museum in person. See a full schedule of anniversary events at http://mim.org/exhibits/signature-events/mims-5th-anniversary-celebration. The MIM is located at 4725 E. Mayo Boulevard in Phoenix (corner of Tatum and Mayo Boulevards, just south of Loop 101). For further information, visit MIM.org or call (480) 478-6000.