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Musical Instrument Museum Breaks Ground

Pictured here is logo for The new Musical Instrument MuseumThe new Musical Instrument Museum (MIM), the first truly global museum of its kind, broke ground on February 6 for its 180,000-square-foot facility on 20 acres of land on the north side of Phoenix, Arizona. Leading the celebration were Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano and Phoenix Vice Mayor Peggy Neely, MIM Board Chairman Bob Ulrich, MIM President and Director Bill DeWalt, and members of the Phoenix Symphony. Scheduled to open by early 2010, the new museum will celebrate the universal language of music by exhibiting instruments from every country in the world.

“This will be like no other musical instrument museum in the world,” said MIM Board Chairman Bob Ulrich, who also serves as Chairman and CEO of Target Corporation. “Through its global collection, MIM will celebrate the contributions each and every country has made to our musical heritage. This is a unique opportunity to build a world-class museum and collection from the ground up, and we are pleased to do so in one of America’s fastest-growing and most-visited cities.”

MIM will exhibit approximately 5,000 instruments, from the exquisite heirlooms of royal courts to handcrafted pieces passed down through generations. With the use of the most technologically advanced wireless headsets and high-resolution video screens, museum guests will be able to see instruments, hear their sounds, and observe them being played in their original settings—performances that are often as spectacular as the instruments themselves. Other areas of the museum will provide opportunities for guests to play selected instruments such as Congolese slitgong drums and see how instruments like the violin are made.

An ongoing schedule of live performances in a state-of-the-art, intimate auditorium will make MIM a center of world music performance. At times, instruments from the museum’s own collections will be used in these performances. The museum will also include a conservation laboratory, a recording studio, a restaurant, coffee shop, and gift shop. “Through distinctive exhibitions, performances and educational programs, MIM will celebrate the diversity of music around the globe and enable everyone to understand how music both defines us and unites us,” said MIM President and Director Bill DeWalt, the former Director of the Carnegie Museum of Natural History. “We expect the new museum to be an engaging and inspirational experience for diverse audiences from around the world as well as to become a world center for the study of musical traditions.”

More information at themim.org.

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