Instrument Origins

Instrument Origins: Wood, Skin, Metal

Learn about the science of sound as you explore wood, metal, and skin percussion instruments. How do these materials affect an instrument’s sound? How does size and tension affect pitch?


  • See percussion instruments on display from all over the world.
  • Explore the science of sound waves on our Shimmer Wall.
  • Try your hand at being a percussionist at our interactive stations.
  • Explore how different sticks and mallets are used to create unique sounds.
  • Watch rare video footage showing how various percussion instruments are built in other societies.