New space offers more interactive activities for children

Many of us have picked up and played an instrument at some point in our lives. Maybe it was piano lessons in elementary school or the violin for a few years as a teen. But what about playing a djembe from West Africa? Or a concertina from Germany?

Last month MIM opened the Encore Gallery, a new space that allows guests to interact with instruments like these as well as others from all over the world, to school and youth tours. The gallery was designed with young children in mind to offer developmentally appropriate activities for early childhood learning.

Besides offering musical instruments to play, the space features many other important aspects for children including natural light, object labels mounted lower to read, open space, and materials for dramatic play such as scarves.

In 2016, we experienced a significant increase in school and youth tours, with 58,000 participants visiting MIM. Our goal is to reach 100,000 participants by 2020 and the Encore Gallery will help facilitate that growing number by offering additional space for children and teachers to discover music through hands-on activities.

The Encore Gallery, built with the help of a $150,000 grant from Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust, is next to the Experience Gallery, another interactive space where guests can play global instruments. While the Encore Gallery is currently dedicated to prekindergarten–2nd grade school tours, it may also be opened to the public on busy days and for special events.