Guided tour, Musical Instrument Museum, Phoenix, Ariz.
Guided tour, Musical Instrument Museum, Phoenix, Ariz.

Mandolins, lutes, yueqins and guitars will strike a chord with groups as they develop an appreciation for the influence of music in shaping a culture’s heritage.

The Musical Instrument Museum (MIM) in Phoenix, Arizona, houses more than 6,800 instruments that represent over 200 countries and territories across the globe.

“Guests are introduced to the rich diversity of instruments in unexpected ways,” said Ida Jones, MIM’s group sales specialist.

Guided tours last one hour and are led by a trained museum guide. Groups learn about MIM’s Geographic Galleries and the various countries, musical genres and collection of instruments on display. This private experience contextualizes the museum before guests explore the galleries more extensively at their own pace.

The five Geographic Galleries strike the notes of diversity in the world of music. In the United States/Canada Gallery, instruments are organized by theme, such as musical genres. Visitors can see and hear a symphonic timeline of North America. From the fife and drum of Colonial days to the drums of rock and roll, music captured the spirit — dreams and fears, celebrations and sorrow — of the continent.

“The museum has an international scope,” Jones said. “It expresses the universal role of music across all cultures.”

The African and Middle Eastern Gallery helps visitors appreciate the overlay of ceremony and song. Unique instruments are harmoniously placed alongside the bold ornamental patterns of traditional clothing.

Recent additions to the Chinese display invite visitors to the Asia Gallery to consider the unsung heroes of the Beijing opera, the orchestra that accompanies each performance from offstage.

The museum offers a feature called guidePORT that enables guests to individually hear, see and feel music across the globe through automatically activated displays. Guests are invited to make a little music of their own in the Experience Gallery. Bang a gong, strum a harp and experience unique instruments from around the world.

MIM offers guided tours for groups of 10 to 20. Motorcoach parking is available.

For more information, call 480-478-6000 or visit

Article by Michael McLaughlin