After we’d had our fill of Legos (and I’m talking about us parents – the kids could have stayed all day) we headed up the hill to the Musical Instruments Museum.
I’d recently stumbled upon info about this museum online. It was included in a list of notable architecture or something, and this building was chosen because of the art deco style. It was formerly a department store and now has a new life as a museum.
The unique feature of this museum is the audio guide, included with admission. This device automatically connects at each exhibit and begins playing a musical selection featuring that instrument.
I’m no musician (though I do own a flute and can pound on the piano a bit) but the diversity of musical instruments was really astounding. Many cultures were featured – a reminder of how music is so important all around the world.
I really wanted to hear this instrument but it didn’t come up on the audio guide. It looks more like a costume.
There was a fine selection of accordions. The accordion doesn’t get much respect in American culture, but there was a special place for it here.
Even when things looked vaguely familiar I realized just how musically illiterate I am. These may resemble trombones, but they are not.
The beautiful features from the original building were still intact. I thought the building was just as interesting as the instruments. If it was still a department store I think I’d shop here.
For a limited time, the museum featured a special exhibit about Adolph Sax, on the occasion of his 200th birthday. He was born in Dinant, Belgium so he’s a local guy.
I had no idea of the impact that Sax had on the musical world. He was the inventor of the saxophone of course, but his creativity went far beyond that. He was well known for his saxhorn design, which really took off because brass bands were quite popular at the time.
I actually had to search for this instrument, which is what I was expecting to see all along.
I have no idea what the name of this thing is (I really should start taking notes when we go to museums) but it is definitely my favorite. I think it was featured in a Dr. Seuss book.
At the end of the exhibit current saxophone players were mentioned, including Lisa Simpson and Bill Clinton. I was quite pleased that I heard no mention of Kenny G during our visit but apparently I was just not paying attention – Jeremy said he was included in the contemporary music section.
Sadly, Adolph Sax was less successful as a businessman than a musician or instrument designer. He was driven into bankruptcy twice due to litigation. He did suffer from lip cancer (could it be all of that work with instruments?) but recovered completely. He died in Paris in 1894. Incidentally just a week after learning about Adolph Sax I made a trip to Paris myself, but I did not pay homage there to this talented man. Maybe next time.