The Museum of Making Music, a division of the NAMM Foundation, is dedicated to the art of music-making with galleries of instruments, special exhibitions and live events throughout the year. Located in Carlsbad, California, the Museum presents a range of exhibitions and displays relating to the history of music from the 1890s to the present day, as well as the manufacturing industry for musical instruments in the United States.

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The mission of the Museum of Making Music is to highlight the music products industry; it’s accomplishments and impact on the community. It does this through a variety of exceptional interactive exhibitions, educational programs and hands-on music making events.


Founded in 1998 and opened to the public in March 2000, the Museum of Making Music is a program division of the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) Foundation, a non-profit organization that serves and strengthens the global music products industry. The Museum of Making Music is located on the first floor of the building that also serves as the international headquarters of NAMM.

Exhibits and Galleries

The Museum of Making Music features several galleries with more than 450 vintage instruments, along with audio samples of traditional music, a variety of musical artifacts, and an interactive area for visitors to try their musical skills on live, hands-on instruments. Musical instruments take center stage of all exhibits in the Museum, dating back to the turn of the last century, around 1900 and displays chronologically explore several themes, including popular music, musical instrument innovations, manufacturing, distribution, marketing and music retail.

Musical instruments are displayed in vintage music store settings to showcase their beauty and diversity, as well as tell the story of how the music products industry that supplies the world with the instruments, gear, and products that are used to make music. Galleries also present audio and video clips that allow guests to aurally and visually enjoy a variety of music, and several instruments that guests can play.

The Museum's Interactive Area features an array of hands-on instruments that highlight the lasting traditions in musical instruments, as well as the latest innovations. Many of the interactive devices are equipped with a pair of headphones so that visitors can explore the instruments and play privately without disturbing others.

In addition to its permanent collection, the Museum of Making Music also presents a variety of self-curated temporary exhibitions that focus on specific ideas and themes that are displayed for six to eight months at a time.

Highlights of the Permanent Collection

Highlights of the Museum’s collection include more than 500 vintage instruments that highlight the innovative change in music over the last few decades, samples of popular music spanning over a century, and breakthrough instruments throughout history. Other highlights include dozens of hands-on instruments in a unique studio that guests can play, as well as a state-of-the-art touchscreen wall where visitors can explore music from around the world.

The Museum of Making Music offers a variety of educational programs, community-based initiatives and public events that educate, inform and entertain audiences from around the country. Programs and events include music concerts, films, performances, summer camps, and workshops.

Field Trip Programs are led by trained facilitators and offer students the opportunity to explore the innovations and historical events that influenced music making and musical instruments. Based on creative thinking, the program presents an adventure of exploring the instruments of the Museum on display, sound and video clips of a variety of music, and an interactive activity for all ages.

Visitor Information

The Museum of Making Music is located at 5790 Armada Drive, Carlsbad and is open to the public Tuesday through Sunday from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm. Parking for visitors is free at the Museum of Making Music with a car park located directly behind the building.

5790 Armada Drive, Carlsbad, CA 92008, Phone: 760-438-5996

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