Explore and discover a century worth of instruments and popular music in this museum filled with rare and amazing instruments on display and instruments to try out.
The museum curates public exhibits that relate to the history of American popular music, the manufacture and retail of musical instruments and the history of the music products industry from the 1890s to the present day. The museum's galleries consist of more than 450 vintage instruments and artifacts on display, hundreds of audio samples of popular music and an area for visitors to interact with a variety of live, hands-on instruments.
The museum also organizes public events, performances and lectures whose purpose is to entertain, educate and inform audiences of the benefits and heritage of making music.
We spent an hour or so exploring the decades of American innovation in musical instruments. The self guided tour takes you through displays of an amazing collection of historic, rare, beautiful, and contemporary musical instruments.
Our older boys, ages 11 and 9 were enthralled with the sample instrument in each room that they were allowed to play. I was amazed to see a real mandolin in the first room ready to be played! The instruments (even the hands on ones) were in excellent condition and not overused or worn out. The boys liked reading some of the displays and learning about the different instruments. My 3 and 5 year olds loved pushing the buttons on each display board that gave sample selections from that musical decade (or double decade). In the more recent decades, there were even video clips of musical groups. My husband and I had flashbacks of our high school years watching Van Halen and Bruce Springsteen.
The Innovation Station at the end of the tour was the highlight for all of us. A keyboard, Moog synthesizer, electric drum set, electric guitars, banjoes, steel drum synthesizer, Beams, a small harp and more, all with their own headsets to not overwhelm the ears of listeners, were ready to be discovered. We all played, experimented, and even took a video lesson on how to play those instruments.
The only reason I give this 4 stars out of 5 was the struggle of taking our 3 and 5 year old through the exhibits along with our 9 and 11 year old. The younger ones wanted to climb onto platforms with the displays and push buttons randomly and as fast as possible. It took a lot of parental work to keep them waiting for their older brothers and not damaging something in the process.
I highly recommend this museum for older kids (6 and up) to discover and enjoy musical instruments and the styles of music through the decades.
I received complimentary tickets to this museum in order to complete this review. All opinions expressed are my own and the business owner did not state any requirements for a particular point of view.