The Museum of Making Music

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by travelprone on August 4, 2002

My first contact was with two fellows from this museum who came to our pre-school and gave an absolutely WOW presentation to all of the classes; they not only showed the expected expertise in music, they also handled the children’s reactions so well that they qualified as child experts. They kept their talks short, and the "hands on" period long, for the kids to play the drums, which was the instrument they wisely chose for their presentation. They lugged in all sorts and sizes, about 15, of drums, and encouraged children to share and try playing more than one drum. They were a hit!

MOMA, as it’s usually referred to, is presenting "Drum Roll, Please…a hands-on history of the drum," through the end of August. Throughout the year, they offer special tours, host special performances by guest artists and have workshops, all to fulfill their dual mission as a museum of the history of music-making and musical instruments since the twentieth century began, and as a teaching center developing appreciation for musical instruments.

This is another headquarters, that of the National Association of Music Merchants, which is why you’ll see NAMM on the front of the building ; don’t be confused by this sign, just look for the Museum of Making Music sign on the side driveway leading to the back parking lot(see photos). They have more than 450 vintage musical instruments on display and samples of "Top 40" tunes from the last 100 years or so. They’re open Tuesdays through Sundays from 10 to 5; during Artsplash they’ll be open free see my "Carlsbad's 50th" journal.

Organized into five displays, each of which represents a twenty year period between 1890 and 1990, this museum has over 450 instruments, some of which are very rare like the 1912 Hohner Harmonette Harmonica is. Aiming to detail the history of making, marketing, distributing and performing music in America during the century the museum deals with, the association hopes that experiencing its museum will inspire future music makers. That purpose is realized at its interactive stage where instruments (piano, guitar) are available to play and make one’s own music. It was no surprise when I learned that the current President of NAMM is the President of Steinway, the name synonymous with pianos.

So, if you’d like to see the 1967 Fender Stratocaster Jimi Hendrix used, or you’re a Beatles’ fan and would like to learn more about the particular instruments they experimented with , or just love music (me), you’ll love this museum. For more details, check out their excellent web site,

Museum of Making Music
5790 Armada Drive
Carlsbad, California, 92008
(760) 438-5996

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