Enrich & Inspire
Carlsbad is the home of the Museum of Making Music, the only museum in the world that focuses on the rich history of music making from 1900 to present day. From educational opportunities and hands-on experiences to special exhibitions and live performances, the Museum of Making Music is enriching Carlsbad and inspiring the community through song. We chat with Executive Director Carolyn Grant to learn more.
Q&A with Museum of Making Music Executive Director Carolyn Grant
Can you tell us a bit about the history of the Museum of Making Music? When did it open?
NAMM’s Museum of Making Music (MoMM) presents the storied history of music instruments and products – from invention, to creation, to market – as its canvas to enrich people of all ages and backgrounds. MoMM does this by offering educational immersion opportunities, exhibitions, hands-on experiences, and live performances that inform and inspire, while demonstrating how musical instruments impact popular culture and connect lives.
A division of the NAMM Foundation, the museum opened in March 2000 as the museum of the music products industry. It is the only museum in the world that focuses on the ecosystem of music making from 1900 to present day.
What is the mission of the museum? How does it go about achieving this mission?
The Museum of Making Music explores the accomplishments and impact of the music products industry through exhibitions and programs, and directly connects visitors with live music and music-making opportunities. We do this through the curation of unique exhibitions, vibrant and varied live music performances, and innovative educational programs.
What is the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) and what is the museum’s relation to this organization?
NAMM is a 117-year-old global trade association whose mission is to strengthen the music products industry and promote the pleasures and benefits of making music. As an organization, NAMM envisions a world in which the joy of making music is a precious element of daily living for everyone; a world in which every child has a deep desire to learn music and a recognized right to be taught; and in which every adult is a passionate champion and defender of that right.
The Museum of Making Music is a division of the NAMM Foundation, the philanthropic arm of NAMM whose mission is to advance active participation in music making across the lifespan by supporting scientific research, philanthropic giving and public service programs to inspire people of all ages to make music.
What sort of programs and events does the museum offer the community? Tell us about any past, current, or upcoming exhibits, performances, or other events.
The museum regularly presents a wide variety of public programs, including: live concerts, workshops, films, lectures, and family activities; the museum averages between five to six events per month. Past concert highlights include performances by music icons such as Mavis Staples, Joan Osborne, and Graham Nash to up-and-coming artists like Mandy Harvey who was recently featured on America’s Got Talent.
Can you tell us more about the New Horizons Band and North Coast Strings? Who are these programs open to? How can interested readers learn more?
The museum’s two adult education music making programs, the North Coast Strings and New Horizons Band are designed to be entry points for adults who want to learn, or re-learn, a musical instrument in a supportive group setting. The New Horizons Band offers adults the chance to play a concert band instrument: woodwinds, brass, and percussion, while the North Coast Strings offers instruments from the string family: violin, viola, cello, and bass. The programs welcome adults (ages 21 and older) with either no music experience, or those who haven’t played their instruments in many years. Each group gives at least two concerts each year.
What is your role at the museum? What are some of your duties or responsibilities?
I am the executive director of the museum. I oversee all aspects of the museum – from visioning to daily operations, and I ensure that our work is consistently mission-driven, meaningful, and impactful.
At-A-Glance | Executive Director
Name: Carolyn Grant
Profession: Executive Director, Museum of Making Music
Hobbies & Interests: Learning and playing music, in particular the cello
Favorite Spots in Carlsbad: The Museum of Making Music, New Village Arts Theatre, the Carlsbad Libraries, The Flower Fields, Carlsbad Village, the beach, and many more!
What is the most challenging aspect of your role? And the most enjoyable aspect?
The most challenging aspect of my job is the unending desire to do more than is possible in one lifetime. The most enjoyable aspect is seeing people connect to themselves and to others through music and music making.
Can you tell us about the other staff members at the museum?
The museum team is extraordinary. They are hard-working, dedicated, passionate, and smart. They do serious, high-quality work with lightheartedness, humor, patience, and respect. I feel tremendously fortunate to work with this team.
Does the museum offer any opportunities for school/group field trips or other large events?
The Museum’s MusicVentures Field Trip Program is a unique musical exploration of the Museum of Making Music for students from preschool age to high school. Students learn about the people, historical events, and innovations that influenced music making and musical instruments. Led by a trained facilitator, students embark on a creative thinking adventure through the instruments on display, sound and video clips, and an interactive activity. Field trips are open to students of all ages and tours are customized based upon grade level or group need.
Does the museum need volunteers? How should those interested in volunteering get involved?
As a nonprofit organization, the Museum of Making Music relies on the support of dedicated volunteers. Volunteers offer their time as docents, gallery attendants, store clerks, event staff, and office support. Volunteers have monthly meetings, education sessions, and annual appreciation events. We currently have over 60 active volunteers whose ages range from teens to seniors!
The first step in becoming a volunteer is to take part in our volunteer training program. The training program is conducted once a year. Anyone interested in signing up is invited to call our visitor services manager at 760-304-5819.
If you could describe the Museum of Making Music in five words, what would you say?
Dynamic, positive, unexpected, interactive, inspiring.
Are there any other upcoming events that you’d like our readers to know about, or any other details you’d like to share?
The Museum of Making Music’s next special exhibition, entitled “Floating Strings: The Remarkable Story of the Harp Guitar in America,” opens on Saturday, Oct. 14 and will be on display through April 29, 2018.
The exhibition is developed and designed by museum staff along with guest curator Mr. Gregg Miner – one of the world’s foremost harp guitar scholars, and will include over 40 beautiful examples of this unique instrument. In addition to the stunning display of instrumental craftsmanship, the exhibition also looks at the history of the harp guitar, from its beginnings in Europe to its current status and use in the United States today.
Additionally, the museum will be hosting a robust concert series in conjunction with the special exhibition. The concert series will feature performances by some of the most respected harp guitarists in the world, including: John Doan, Stephen Bennett, Muriel Anderson, Travis Bowman, and more.
At-A-Glance | Museum of Making Music
Address: 5790 Armada Drive
Hours of Operation: Tuesday – Sunday: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.;
Closed on Mondays and major holidays
Description: The Museum of Making Music explores the multifaceted history of the American music products industry from its beginnings in the 1890s to today and presents a variety of events, educational programs, and special exhibitions.