A hands-on space to play instruments from around the world

In the Experience Gallery, guests can play global instruments similar to those on display throughout the museum. The hands-on space is popular and engaging for children and adults, as they can play everything from a guitar to a banjo, Peruvian harp, Zimbabwean marimba, and more.

In the family-friendly space, Experience Gallery guides foster a welcoming and educational atmosphere by answering guests’ questions and encouraging them to play instruments. Mary Ann Szulinski began volunteering in the Experience Gallery in August 2018 and loves seeing the joy on kids’ and families’ faces as they play and touch the instruments. After guests explore the galleries and listen to music from around the world, she especially enjoys talking to them about what they saw and giving them the opportunity to experience playing the instruments themselves.

“There is so much passion in the room,” says Szulinski. “Where else are you going to play a theremin or a gamelan or a Native American communal drum?”

Alvin Apple, another MIM volunteer team member, has been helping in the Experience Gallery on Saturdays since January 2011. Over the past eight years, one of his favorite memories is engaging with MIM’s youngest guests. On Saturday mornings, he likes seeing MIMkids Mini Music Makers participants, ages 0 to 5, have fun while interacting with the instruments.

“When guests come in the Experience Gallery, I make sure they understand that everything is touchable and enjoy encouraging them to play,” says Apple. “I’m very excited about being at MIM as the 10th anniversary approaches. I like getting up every Saturday morning to volunteer; I’m happy doing this.”