On October 20, the Musical Instrument Museum (MIM) will unveil the newest addition to its Artist Gallery—an exhibit honoring international multiplatinum superstar Taylor Swift. The exhibit will be welcomed with a weekend-long celebration including live music, educational workshops, exhibit talks, and more!
MIM’s Artist Gallery features musical instruments linked to world-renowned musicians and music innovators as well as photographs, wardrobe pieces, personal items, and video footage from various performances. The instruments and artifacts on display in this gallery each have meaningful and unique connections to the artists. Swift’s objects will be on display along with iconic instruments from artists worldwide, such as the piano used by John Lennon when he composed “Imagine.” Furthermore, the space dedicated to the Taylor Swift exhibit will be one of the largest for a single artist, matched only by the Elvis Presley display.
The first section of the exhibit details the beginning of Swift’s career, from learning to play guitar and writing songs to the release of her first single, “Tim McGraw,” in June 2006. Swift writes or cowrites every song on all of her albums, including her self-titled debut, “Taylor Swift" (released in October 2006). Objects in this part of the exhibit include Swift’s handwritten lyrics for the song “Tim McGraw,” along with her signature Taylor koa, six-string acoustic guitar and cowboy boots featured in the “Tim McGraw” music video.
The second section features Swift’s meteoric rise to superstardom, shown through instruments, stage wear, and set pieces from the Speak Now World Tour. Items on exhibit from this tour include her sparkly red Gibson Les Paul electric guitar, which she played while outfitted in her gold Roberto Cavalli dress for tour performances of “Mine.” Also on display will be a Deering banjo and a Leilani ukulele used on the tour, which demonstrate Swift’s talents as a multi-instrumentalist. The centerpiece of the exhibit is a large prop bell that was a featured and interactive set piece used during performances of the song “Haunted” on the Speak Now World Tour.
“Not only is Taylor Swift one of the most successful musical artists in the world, she is also a multi-instrumentalist and an extraordinarily talented songwriter,” said Dr. Bill DeWalt, MIM’s president and director. “We are honored to showcase some of the important artifacts from Swift’s career, and we hope this exhibit inspires our guests of all ages to play an instrument and make their own music.”
MIM will celebrate the exhibit’s opening with a variety of activities for the entire family on October 20 and 21. Museum guests will have the opportunity to listen to an exhibit talk by MIM curatorial assistant David Wegehaupt, attend a songwriting workshop with the Arizona Songwriters Association, watch Taylor Swift music videos in the MIM Music Theater, and listen to students from Rock ’n’ Roll High School singing Taylor Swift songs. All activities are free with museum admission. For more information and the complete schedule of activities, visit MIM.org
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