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PHOENIX: November 07, 2014 Download this press release >

Drums to Take Center Stage in New Exhibition at the Musical Instrument Museum

"Beyond the Beat" to Include More Than 100 Drums Plus Interactive Technology to Bring the Instrument to Life

PHOENIX (Nov. 7, 2014) From November 15 through June 21, 2015, the Musical Instrument Museum (MIM) will present “Beyond the Beat: Drums of the World.” Developed by members MIM’s curatorial team, the exhibition brings together their individual experiences and expertise to create a global perspective of this instrument. “Beyond the Beat” features more than 100 drums from 45 countries, as well as a variety of opportunities for hands-on interaction with instruments and creative technology.

The exhibition’s opening display gives guests an overview of meaningful roles that drums play around the world and the remarkable variations in drum shape, size and materials. Each type of drum has a distinctive sound and can provide a memorable reference to the culture or genre in which it is played. Sections of the exhibition explore a range of topics from technological advances and the internationalization of the American-developed drum set and the “hi-hat” to how bold Ottoman army instruments became part of the modern symphony orchestra. Social contexts of drums are also examined, including the use of drums for healing and religious worship in Asia, as part of festivals and processions in Latin America, and for coming-of-age ceremonies and to embody ancestral spirits in Central Africa.

Housed in MIM’s Target Gallery, the exhibition is largely composed of instruments from the museum’s permanent collection, most of which have never before been on display to the public.

The exhibition highlights a variety of types of drums. Select items on display include:

  • A bronze drum from the Dong Son people (Vietnam), circa 500 BCE–100 CE
  • A 1969 Camco drum set played by Doug “Cosmo” Clifford of the American rock band Creedence Clearwater Revival (CCR) during live performances and on three albums
  • Two orchestral timpani from the early 1800s
  • A dhyangro used by shamans in Nepal
  • A colorful 1920s “trap” set (drum set), complete with sound-effect instruments appropriate for early 20th-century jazz, theatrical productions, silent film showings and radio broadcasts
  • And many more!

Technology plays a vital role in “Beyond the Beat” by allowing guests to interact physically with drums. For the exhibition, MIM commissioned a large, playable drum from Yaqui father-son artists and instrument makers Alex and Nick Maldonado. An interactive projection on the surface of the drum invites “Beyond the Beat” guests to play and hear this magnificent instrument for themselves. An interactive touch screen with a variety of demonstration videos from expert players enhances a display on popular global drums. Video throughout the exhibition features rare footage produced or collected by MIM curators.

“Drums are fundamental characters in human transitions and events, taking center stage in important moments such as birth, death, coming of age, healing and entertainment,” said Manuel Jordán, PhD, deputy director and chief curator at MIM “This exhibition demonstrates that the meaning, depth and richness found in drums mirrors that of the human experience.”

“Beyond the Beat” is MIM’s first special exhibition based on the museum’s own collection. Like the displays in the Geographical Galleries (where MIM hosts its permanent collection), most items in “Beyond the Beat” are not behind vitrines. Additionally, the use of high-quality audiovisual content is a seamless part of the exhibition, with 10 video screens showing 50 video clips.

In conjunction with the exhibition, MIM will host a series of concerts and educational activities highlighting the drum. The opening weekend of the exhibition will feature family programming including drum crafts, performances, story time and a family drum circle. A full schedule is available online at Additional programs will be announced throughout the run of the exhibition.

“Beyond the Beat” is sponsored by U.S. Bank, KPMG and Sagewood.

$10 for “Beyond the Beat” exhibition only
$7 when purchased with general museum admission

The Musical Instrument Museum is located at 4725 E. Mayo Boulevard in Phoenix (corner of Tatum and Mayo Boulevards, just south of Loop 101). For general museum information and a full schedule of events, visit or call 480.478.6000.


About MIM
The Musical Instrument Museum (MIM) enriches the world by collecting, preserving and making accessible a wide variety of musical instruments and performance videos from every country in the world. We offer our guests a welcoming and fun experience, incomparable interactive technology, dynamic programming and exceptional musical performances. MIM also fosters appreciation of diverse cultures around the globe by showing that we all innovate, adapt and learn from each other to create music—the language of the soul.

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Media Contact
Erin Miller, Media Relations Manager, MIM