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  • Writer's pictureDavid Winkler

Musical Museums

Last month, my son Elliot and I took a vacation to the state of Arizona. My father was from Phoenix, so we went there to retrace some family history and to meet one of my aging relatives. We saw a lot of spectacular scenery during our trip, driving through the desert and up into the mountains, ending up at the Grand Canyon.

While in Phoenix, we spent a day visiting the Musical Instrument Museum. Wow, what a fantastic place! They have literally thousands of instruments from all over the world, displayed in a beautiful, state-of-the-art manner. Each visitor is given a listening device with headphones that activates automatically so that, when standing in front of an exhibit, you can hear and see on a screen a demonstration of the instruments on display. I was particularly fascinated by one gallery which featured mechanical instruments such as music boxes and player pianos:

This got me to thinking, how many music-themed museums are there in the U.S., and around the world? An internet search revealed that there are hundreds! Some, such as the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville, are oriented around a particular style of music. Others, such as Elvis Presley's Graceland in Memphis, focus on a musical personality, while others highlight a famous composer, such as at the Händel Haus in Halle, Germany.

Then there are other museums which aren't entirely musical, but include some type of musical element. For instance, if you visit the Laura Ingalls Wilder Historic Home and Museum in Mansfield, Missouri, you can see her Pa's fiddle which is referred to so many times in the "Little House" books.

I've had the privilege of visiting all these places, and hope to visit some more in the future. What are some music-based museums you have visited that you recommend?


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