MIM’s newest special exhibition, Rediscover Treasures: Legendary Musical Instruments, opens November 11 and celebrates some of the rarest instruments of their kind, including remarkable examples from history and items owned and played by musical icons. These incredible new masterpieces, which include a 14th-century hitoyogiri owned by a Japanese emperor and Prince’s purple grand piano, will be on display alongside familiar favorites such as the Amati violins and ancient Mesopotamian lyre fragments from the ruins of Ur.
Discover the extraordinary stories of these instruments and more during our opening weekend Signature Event November 11–13, which features live performances, curator talks, and other family-friendly activities!
Other exhibition highlights include:
“The First Ukulele.” Likely crafted by Portuguese immigrant Jose do Espirito Santo around 1879, this instrument is thought to be the first Hawaiian ukulele. It remains in playable condition and produces remarkable volume.
Hochbrucker pedal harp. Jacob Hochbrucker’s ingenious pedal harp design represented a revolutionary step in harp history. Today, only four known original Hochbrucker pedal harps remain, including this example from 1720.
Crystal flute by Claude Laurent. A watchmaker and mechanic by trade, Laurent was a musician at heart, which led him to develop innovative glass flutes. These flutes, like this 1809 example, were less affected by temperature and humidity.
“Brownie,” Eric Clapton’s 1956 Fender Stratocaster. Purchased by Clapton in a London music shop in 1967, “Brownie” can be heard on Clapton’s early classics, such as “Layla” and “Bell Bottom Blues.”
Prince’s “Black Power” Lākland bass. Bassist Rhonda Smith commissioned this custom instrument and gifted it to Prince in the late ’90s. Prince often recorded bass tracks for his albums.
Lionel Hampton’s Deagan vibraphone. This one-of-a-kind gold “King George” model vibraphone was custom-made in the 1930s for Hampton, and it remains the only example built to the Deagan company’s most deluxe trim level.