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Speaking of traditions, beginning Nov. 20, MIM hosts its first traveling exhibit, American Sabor: Latinos in U.S. Popular Music. The exhibit focuses on five major centers of Latino music production in the post-Word War II U.S. – New York, Miami, San Antonio, Los Angeles and San Francisco. Highlights include Ritchie Valens’ Harmony electric guitar and a purple mariachi suit designed by Manuel for Linda Ronstandt.
Of course, everyone has their favorite item in the museum. One of Christina’s faves can be found in the Italy exhibit. It’s a musical walnut called a noce, which she says is further evidence of MIM’s uniqueness. Bill, on the other hand, is partial to the lower jawbone of a horse, which is used as a percussion instrument in Latin American countries. He says he also likes the jade-and-bronze chimes from South Korea (we’re definitely in agreement on this) and the Middle Eastern oud. We spent the majority of our time in the Asian and African galleries, but since we are rockers at heart, we were also taken with the guitar exhibit on the lower level, especially the Rickenbacker A22 “Frying Pan” – an example of the first commercially successful electric guitar (it was made in 1934). We were also captivated by the Erlig Khan – the Lord of the Underworld – costume in the Mongolian exhibit. Like Bill says, there’s something for everyone.
“I can truly say our target audience is everyone in the world,” says Bill. “Music transcends language. Anyone in the world could come here and enjoy these exhibits. Music is an art form that helps bring people together, which is critically important these days.”
The Musical Instrument Museum is located at 4725 E. Mayo Blvd. in north Phoenix. For information, call 480-478-6000 or visit www.themim.org. Admission (including audio equipment): $15 for adults, $13 for seniors, $10 for kids ages 6 to 17 and free for children younger than 6. Hours: Monday-Wednesday and Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Thursday-Friday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Parking is free.
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