After several years of planning and a recently completed remodel and transformation of its physical space, NAMM’s Museum of Making Music will celebrate its grand reopening to the public on Tuesday, June 15.

The re-envisioned Carlsbad-based institution will reveal a dynamic and immersive experience across four new galleries. A multimedia-rich approach offers a fresh perspective of the ecosystem of music products, their history, and cultural impact and will inspire visitors to make their own connections to the role of music-making in their lives.

“In the years since our opening, we’ve seen enormous changes in music, society, technology, and, by extension, in the many industries involved with musical instruments and products,” said Carolyn Grant, executive director of the MoMM. “This new musical landscape, coupled with our growing and shifting audiences, made it clear to us that the time had come to modernize the MoMM with new technologies and innovative storytelling. We’re excited to offer a new look at the people and products that bring music to our world.”

The new MoMM welcomes visitors from near and far on a journey of musical exploration and discovery as told through instruments, artifacts and multimedia displays featuring video stories, photographs, performance clips, and interviews from the instrument creators, artists and industry innovators. Across the MoMM’s four new galleries, guests will experience key themes of “Making the Instruments,” “Providing the Instruments,” “Using the Instruments” and “Beyond the Instruments.”

New Galleries at the Museum of Making Music

The first gallery, “Making the Instruments,” explores how instruments develop and change through time due to emerging technologies, economic and social trends, popular culture and global migration. The instruments are presented in product groups and paint a picture of how instrument development, history, culture and people contribute to the ever-evolving world of music.

The second gallery, “Providing the Instruments,” reveals how instruments have entered and traveled through the marketplace and into our hands throughout a century of ever-shifting musical, economic and social landscapes. Visitors will experience the inspiring stories of entrepreneurship and perseverance, hear musical samples from the 1900s to today, and discover the impact of pivotal moments in history, changing economic climates and evolving musical tastes on our ability to access the musical instruments we need.

In the third gallery, “Using the Instruments,” the magic of music takes flight. The gallery features a panoramic multimedia display exploring the theme of music as a journey. Included in the immersive experience are images from iconic photographers Henry Diltz, Bob Gruen, Neal Preston and Ethan Russell, donated by The Morrison Hotel Gallery.

A conclusion area called “Beyond the Instruments,” examines instruments through a broader lens and invites visitors to consider instruments as more than their physical selves: becoming works of art, catalysts for cultural change, sanctuaries of comfort and connection, tools for emotive expression and much more. Notably, the area includes the Live Electronic Orchestra (LEO), designed by Don Lewis, a catalyst for the development of the Musical Instrument Digital Interface (MIDI) protocol, spearheaded by Ikutaro Kakehashi (Roland Corporation) and Dave Smith (Sequential Circuits).

Other New Additions

Upon reopening, the MoMM’s special exhibition area will feature a new display, “A Moment to Reflect.” The limited-time exhibition will center on the intrinsic experience of making music through instruments found throughout nature and in the world-at-large. In addition, it will invite visitors to reflect on the origins of what has today become a robust, global industry of music and sound products.

The MoMM’s hands-on opportunities also underwent a redesign at “Sit & Play” stations throughout the galleries. In the Interactive Gallery, visitors can enjoy a suite of instruments for solo exploration and collaborative performances. With a focus on the youngest music makers, the Interactive Gallery also includes a dedicated area featuring hand drums, ukuleles and more to encourage hands-on instrument access, reaffirming you’re never too young to make music.

Additionally, each of the three main galleries will also feature a dedicated STEAM Learning Station. In the future, docent-led student groups can explore the worlds of music and musical instruments through facilitated activities from the fields of science, technology, engineering, arts and math.

The new MoMM was made possible with gifts from The Kenneth T. and Eileen L. Norris Foundation, The Arizona Foundation, The County of San Diego, Juniper Networking Solutions, The Morrison Hotel Gallery, Other World Computing, The Parker Foundation, Sweetwater Sound and ZUZA Marketing Asset Management. Private family foundations, businesses and hundreds of individual donors also contributed to bringing the vision of the MoMM to life.

Beginning on June 15, the museum will be open Tuesday to Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Under the direction of state and county health protocols, the MoMM will utilize COVID mitigation strategies and cleaning throughout the museum as well as a ticketed registration system to manage the flow and number of visitors to the new space.

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