MIM was a great museum and more than exceeded my expectations. I ended up spending about 4 hours here and could have easily spent a whole day. MIM opened in April 2010 and is the largest museum of its type in the world with a collection of over 15,000 musical instruments, costumes and various objects from nearly 200 countries and territories represented from every inhabited continent. MIM is a 200,000 square foot modern building with two floors of galleries. The exhibits are arranged by regions so it’s easy to follow. Each exhibit for each county features a video on a flat-screen showing local musician performing on native instruments. Visitors are able to listen to the performances through a wireless device with headphones that are activated automatically when an exhibit is being observed.
MIM has changing exhibits for a set period of time, at the time I visited the museum was highlighting The Electric Guitar: Inventing an American Icon. This exhibit shared the story of the invention of the electric guitar, an instrument that revolutionized music and popular culture forever. The exhibit showcased more than 80 of the rarest electric guitars and amplifiers in the world, as well as the personal instruments of groundbreaking artists who were among the first to play and popularize the electric guitar.
Standard Electric Spanish Guitar 1948-1949…….Paul Bigsby’s third standard electric guitar was built for Tommy “Butterball” Paige, lead guitarist for country star Ernest Tubb.
Telecast Electric Guitar 1962-1963 ……..One of the most recorded instruments in history, this was Tommy Tedesco’s primary electric guitar for years. A core member of the Los Angeles based studio musicians called the “Wrecking Crew.” Tedesco is heard on countless hit tracks (Aretha Franklin, Elvis Presley, Beach Boys), television themes (Bonanza, The Twilight Zone), and movie soundtracks (The Godfather, Jaws).
“The Bad Dude” custom electric guitar 1998 – carefully constructed according to Bo Diddley’s own detailed sketches & notes, ” The Bad Dude” was presented as a gift from close friend Charlie Tona to Diddley. The signature rectangular body shape features onboard equalization, special effects, and a synthesizer pickup. Extensively used for years at the end of his life & career as a true originator of rock and roll claimed this was the best guitar he ever owned.
Quad Stringmaster electric steel guitar – 1950’s………Noel Boggs was a first-rate steel guitarist who played in the bands of Hank Penny, Bob Wills, and Spade Cooley, aside from his extensive studio work. Leo Fender tested ideas with his close friend Boggs and personally provided him with prototypes of new instruments, including Fender’s first double-and triple-neck steel guitars, and later this Quad Stringmaster.
Alvino Rey’s Electro A-25 (1932) – This instrument was likely the first electric guitar ever played on a national radio broadcast. It’s new sound shocked the world, igniting a music revolution. Considered the “Father of the Electric Guitar.” Alvino Rey was not only a talented performer but also a direct contributor to the research and development of amplified instruments for brands such as Rickenbacker, Gibson, and Fender.
Custom Electric Hawaiian Guitar – 1936 ……Alvino Rey was the most popular and visible electric guitarist in the world, Gibson built this custom steel guitar to his peculiar specifications in order to secure a partnership.
Electro A-25 Electric Hawaiian Guitar – 1938……This well-used guitar features a rarely seen textured, ivory-painted finish from the factory.
Gebroeders Decap Organ – Measuring over 25 feet long and weighing over two tons, this dance organ was originally manufactured in 1926 by the preeminent Antwerp firm of Theofiel Mortier, S.A. It was remanufactured into its present configuration by another famous Antwerp Company, Gebroeders Decap, in 1950. The largest organs made by the Decap brothers were often given unique names; “Apollonia” is the female form of “Apollo,” the Greek god of the sun and music. During its working life, this organ was owned by the firm Gebroeders M.&G. Teugels, which provided organs for the popular circuit of dance halls and traveling shows. It remained in Teugels’s collection until the mid-1980s when it was imported into the United States by an American Collector.
Swiss watchmakers were already skilled builders of delicate mechanisms when they began to create musical boxes in the 18th century. By 1825, a standard music box size had developed with more elaborate and imaginative decoration available two decades later.
#1 – Swiss Chalet Music Box 1900……Handcrafted in Black Forest style, three original tunes play when the roof is lifted.
#2 – Child’s Musical Chair 1890s made in Black Forest style play’s ” Rose-Marie” and “Show Me the Way to Go Home.”
#3 – Musical Picture Frame 20th century……..When the music plays, the figures move across the inside scene.
The museum has these global geographic galleries that flow from one to another. The instruments are fascinating artifacts along with photographs, original costumes, related art, and cultural performance videos.
Asia Gallery: Gakuso (plucked zither late 19th century); The Philippines, ?, Kakko (double-headed barrel drum) Tenri, Nara 2007-2008, Dadabuan (goblet drum) 1920-1930, Sovann Marcha & Hanuman Costumes, San-no-tsuzum (double-headed hourglass drum) Tenri, Nara 2007-2008; Philippines, Shava Mongol People 2003; ?, Chinese Lion Dance costume; Pat-Waing (double-headed barrel drums) Burmese Mandalay; Ves (dance costume) Sinhala People 1998-2008.
India Dance Costumes
Guitars: Moscow Russia 1900, Black Sun CA 2005, Smooth Talker South Africa 2007, Maccaterr G40 NY 1953-1964, Harp-Guitar Germany 1994, Chaturangui West Bengal India 2007
Misc Instruments: Fou (Kettle Drum) China 2008 – Played in the opening ceremony of 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics, Nagado Odarko (double-headed Barrell Drum), Haiti, Marimba Dole (Wood Xylophone), Dragon2002 Electric Guitar, Igbin Single-headed cylindrical drum Nigeria.