One morning at MIM

I headed out to the Musical Instrument Museum Thursday morning for the media sneak peek of a photographic exhibit titled “The Power of Music.” My son Christopher, a fellow MIM fan and keeper of the family’s best camera, tagged along.

The Power of Music exhibit features photography and more

The traveling exhibit features not only photos, but also rare musical instruments and videos of music enjoyed during earlier times. The exhibit spans 1860-1915. You can enjoy it at the MIM Sept 24-Nov 27 — something to keep in mind as relatives who visit for Thanksgiving are sitting stuffed and silent on your sofa.

This MIM Cafe spread looked lovely until reporters dived in

If you hit the MIM for Halloween, be sure and stop by the MIM Cafe. After sampling tasty pizza, cookies and prickly pear cream soda on Thursday, we chatted with their chef — who seems to find inspiration in both music and the macabre.

Last year’s Halloween offerings included “Mummy Meatloaf” with a global twist and “Silence of the Lambs” ala “local AZ.” Reading last year’s Halloween sandwich menu was like browsing through a theater program from Ron May or Damon Dering. Scary. But scary good.

Once we’d explored “The Power of Music” and given a hearty thumbs up to executive chef Edward T. Farrow (only his mom gets to shorten the first name), we explored the rest of the two-story museum — including geographical galleries that group instruments by region and country of origin.

You can travel the world in one morning at the MIM

We especially enjoyed our time in the artist gallery, which “features instruments, video concert footage, photographs and other special items linked to world-renowned musicians and music innovators.”

Our fun finds included this 1945 G.I. Piano from Steinway and Sons

Our favorites included an olive green “G.I. Piano” and a “Leonard Bernstein” exhibit complete with “West Side Story” elements (which reminded me that “West Side Story” opens next week at ASU Gammage in Tempe).

Some exhibits hold special interest for theater and film buffs

It looks like several new exhibits are under development. Country music fans can soon enjoy space devoted to Toby Keith and Buck Owens. Also coming soon are artifacts from Stevie Nicks, Roy Orbison and John Denver. Elvis is already in the building.

This section of the MIM is like a blank canvas awaiting the brush

Still no Bruce Springsteen gear (just a small image tucked away on a wall in the rock and roll section of the museum) — so I had to settle for buying a Springsteen 2012 wall calendar in the museum shop.

The MIM Museum Shop is full of fun holiday shopping finds

The museum store is its own multicultural marvel. We spent part of the morning just exploring all the books, music, toys, attire, jewelry and other fare. Winter holidays will soon be upon us and the MIM museum store has lots of unique offerings, many quite reasonably priced.

If your family might enjoy a bit of morning time at the MIM, consider a visit this weekend. There’s a 10am children’s workshop Sat, Sept 24 — “How to Play the Bones and Harmonica” with Mark Gardner and Rex Rideout.

The pair offers an “Illustrated Lecture and Musical Demonstration” Sun, Sept 25 at 11am. Fine print about pricing and such (plus afternoon offerings this weekend) is available online at

Musicians from Tony Bennett to Carlos Santana offer rave MIM reviews

We always enjoy our mornings at the MIM. The museum features giant windows that let the glorious sun shine in. The museum coffee shop brews a mean espresso best enjoyed while reading quotes from famous musicians painted along one wall. And the galleries offer an ever-changing selection of all things musical to delight our senses. One morning at the MIM can create a lifetime of memories.

— Lynn

Note: Our favorite photos were identified as follows — Ladies’ orchestra or glee club; Hispanic man and woman playing banjo; Salvation Army musicians; Twins with banjo and wooden flute; and Theresa Vaughn, actress, with five string banjo (she looks like my lovely daughter Liz). Checking out the hair and clothes in the photos is nearly as much fun as spying all the old-timey (a phrase borrowed from my Blue Bike Kids Show buddies) instruments.

Coming up: Film and theater reviews — think “Sparrow” from Stray Cat Theatre, “West Side Story” from ASU Gammage and “Footloose” on the big screen.


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