By Courtney, the Insider
Strong identities make Arizona’s museums stand out.
Even before walking inside, the exterior of the Phoenix Art Museum is art itself, beautifully done with exotic cactus, sleek architecture and a water feature. It set a tone for me even before I walked in. Inside though the museum is spread out and spacious yet it somehow feels small enough to be doable in one visit. When we visited, the featured exhibition was “Kehinde Wiley: A New Republic” which runs until January 8, 2017. Wiley takes modern men and women from off the street, putting them into classical images for really stunning and thought-provoking juxtapositions. We just missed “Emphatics: Avant Garde Fasion 1963-2013” which runs through January 16, 2017.
Whether you are a musician or just someone who occasionally taps their toes to the radio, you’ll love the Musical Instrument Museum. On northern edges of Phoenix in the middle of nowhere – you might think you’re not on the right path – off a highway, surrounded by vacant dessert land, you’ll find this huge museum. Absolutely set aside at least half a day or even a full day to see experience this museum fully. Fortunately, there’s a very good cafeteria on site to make that easier. “Experience” is the operative word for the MIM. Walk around slowly, experiencing hands-on elements, hearing the music via headsets you wear throughout your visit. Enjoy music and musical instruments from all over the world. The main impression I took away was that music unifies all people all over world – everyone has ways of making music and everyone feels the need to make it. You really see that here. In fact, I felt a little choked up, going around the museum, realizing this. Notice the beauty and intricacy of the instruments, see photos of people really using them (note the way they dress). From Taylor Swift to Carlos Santana to Elvis Presley to Maroon 5, see musical icons from various age. This is a museum for all ages and is absolutely a must-see!
Not quite a museum, but definitely an attraction, Taliesin West takes thousands of visitors on guided tours every year to see the winter home of famed architect, Frank Lloyd Wright. The site in the hills was, and still is, the home of the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation and Taliesin, The Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture. Even though you might think it’s a very touristy thing to do, you must do it. Well-choreographed tours stay very true to the place, the intention, the history of Taliesin. I’ve been twice now and got slightly different perspectives on things depending on my guide. It’s like getting the inside scoop from people who have experienced the school, the buildings and the entire philosophy through their own eyes, passing that on to each tour group. Whether you like Wright’s style of architecture or not, hearing about his philosophies and standing in his bedroom, his office, his livingroom, makes you begin to “drink from the Kool-Aid” and soon, you’re thinking like an architect who honored nature and the surrounding land.
Read our entire feature about Phoenix, here.