Exhibit One: Time Tunnel
Have you ever felt the vibration of a drum when someone strikes it? Did you ever have the chance to play a gong? Investigate the instruments from our archives and test your musical ability by playing and learning the three basic sound properties of percussion: wood, metal and skin. Take the time to feel the vibrations of sound by striking the eight-foot gong drum. Discover the warmth and sound of metal by playing the gong. Hear the different pitches and timbres created on a log drum. Watch video footage of how these three sound concepts shaped various cultures and music.
Exhibit Two: Instrument Origins: Wood, Skin, Metal
Learn about the science of sound and the evolution of percussion instruments as you tour through an expanded presentation of the three basic sound properties of percussion. See what a sound-wave looks like when you hit a drum on the Rhythm! Drum Wall. Hear how different mallets and hand positions create a variety of sounds on wood, skin and metal instruments in ten different interactive portals. Archival displays and rare video footage introduce a visual interpretation on the building of various percussion instruments in other societies.
Exhibit Three: Clair Omar Musser-Restless Innovator
Discover the life of virtuoso musician, conductor, professor, designer, composer, engineer and inventor Clair Omar Musser. Throughout his life Musser tirelessly created and designed new mallet instruments and pedagogical techniques for the betterment of the percussive arts. Peer into Musser’s life through personal artifacts and video and examine one-of-a-kind instruments created by Musser himself, like the King George Marimba, the Musser Maestro Marimba Metron and the Celestaphone – a mallet instrument whose frame, resonators and bars were forged from over 650 pounds of meteorites collected by Musser.
Exhibit Four: Stage to Screen
Percussion plays a very important role in the development of the stage and screen. Explore the early history of radio shows through the trap set of Roy C. Knapp and the various instrument sound effects used through radio, stage and screen. Try your hand at playing a portion of the famous Wurlitzer theater organ originally housed at the Paramount Theater in New York. Look at unique instruments used in popular movies and cartoons like the Exorcist, Indiana Jones and Pluto. Interpret the percussion setup for the Tony award-winning music Wicked, and don’t leave without becoming a session percussionist yourself by performing The Simpsons theme song.
Pavilion: Drums From the Circle City
Starting May 11, 2013 Rhythm! Discovery Center is presenting a new exhibit that showcases the importance of percussion and manufacturing in Indianapolis at the turn of the 20th Century. Drums From the Circle City: The Leedy Drum Company from 1895-1930 is an interactive exhibit that will discuss the beginnings of the Leedy Drum Company from a small apartment, to the Cyclorama building on the Circle, and finally moving to an 80,000 square foot manufacturing facility in the Fountain Square area – becoming the “World’s Largest Drum Company.” The importance of the Leedy Drum Company extends beyond its Indianapolis roots. Ulysses G. Leedy, the founder of the company, created many innovations that still drive the percussion industry today, including the white pearl drum finish, the snare strainer and the invention of the Vibraphone.
Collection Wall Temporary Display: Drumsets & More
Stop by the Archive Wall to view some of our exciting pieces from the instrument collection, including the Trixon Telstar drumset and a classic Sonor drumset.
A true playground for adults and kids, the Interactive Area allows everyone to live the life of a drummer. Become a master musician from India and play the tabla; be amazed at the sounds created on the ocean drum; mimic human speech through the African talking drum; or try hundreds of other percussion instruments available for all ages. Through Virtual Environment Technology, become a concert virtuoso in the two Wenger sound booths and hear what it sounds like to play a drumset, steel drum, crash cymbals or xylophone in various performing venues such as a cathedral, stadium or small concert hall.