Highlighting the enduring importance of drums in human life

November 15, 2014–October 11, 2015

Developed by the MIM curatorial team, Beyond the Beat: Drums of the World brought together curators’ areas of expertise and individual experiences to create a global perspective of this major class of instruments. The special exhibition featured more than 100 drums from 45 countries and opportunities for hands-on interaction with instruments and creative technology.

Exploring the rhythmic power of drums across the world

Beyond the Beat drew largely from the museum’s permanent collection and gave guests an overview of the remarkable variations in the shape, size, materials, decoration, and symbolism of drums from around the world. The exhibition explored several topics, including drumming sounds and techniques, social contexts, the development and internationalization of the American drum set, and how bold Ottoman army instruments became part of the modern symphony orchestra. MIM also commissioned for the exhibition a large, playable drum from Yaqui father-son artists and instrument makers Alex and Nick Maldonado.

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.

—Manuel Jordán, PhD, deputy director and chief curator

Thank you to our generous donors

Sponsored by U.S. Bank, KPMG, and Sagewood

U.S. Bank Logo