Rhythm! Discovery Center is the creative vision of the Percussive Arts Society. Described as “the world’s first fully-interactive drum and percussion museum,” Rhythm! Discovery Center takes an innovative approach to experiencing the universality of rhythm and percussion. We spoke with Joshua Simonds, Executive Director of the Percussive Arts Society and Rhythm! Discovery Center, to learn more about this unique institution in Indianapolis.
Rhythm! Discovery Center: Learn Something. Try Something.
The Percussive Arts Society was formed in 1961 with a mission to inspire, educate, and support percussionists and drummers internationally. It’s the world’s largest percussion organization and is an integral entity in the percussion world. In 2009, the Percussive Arts Society founded Rhythm! Discovery Center, which is a unique, fully-interactive percussion museum and is based right here in Indianapolis.
The museum is located at 110 W. Washington Street in Indianapolis and offers a wide variety of exhibits. A popular one right now at Rhythm! is Spark! From Tubes to Chips, an exploration of how electronic technology has played a role in the development of percussive instruments. Joshua Simonds, Executive Director of the Percussive Arts Society and Rhythm! Discovery Center, says “the exhibit is cool because you get to learn about things from the 1930s, 40s, 50s, and 60s but then also get to play a modern electronic instrument, like the MalletKat –a modern electric instrument like a xylophone.” Simonds went on to say “we make every exhibit have a portion of it that is interactive. You learn something, but then get to literally try out what you’ve learned.”
The fact that the entire collection of the museum’s pieces are available to view online makes Rhythm! truly unique. The online collection showcases the thousands of percussion memorabilia in an accessible way because anyone can get online and read about the rich history of the instruments housed in Rhythm! It’s a great way to learn about the pieces in the museum and provides a way to access information on rotating instruments that may not be on display during your visit.
Rhythm! Discovery Center is not just a museum; it also offers a wealth of educational programs for all ages. “Find Your Rhythm” is a program that allows school-aged children to take field trips to the museum where they learn about the science behind sound production, the history of percussive arts, and jam with interactive drum circles. Simonds explained that Rhythm! is “opening up ‘Find Your Rhythm’ to senior communities as well.” This move will allow the museum to serve both youth and senior populations in central Indiana.
Simonds feels that Rhythm! Discovery Center is an Indianapolis gem that other cities can take note of. “It is such a unique institution. I think that we can use Rhythm! Discovery Center to help show that these community programs [like “Find Your Rhythm”] that are started here in Indianapolis are successful and can be used as a model for other cities. We created these programs to give people a musical opportunity to be creative and we are doing that by making percussion as accessible as possible. We can really show other cities that this is what is happening at Rhythm! and it works and other cities should do it to.”
Consider taking a trip to Rhythm! Discovery Center. You’ll get to learn about percussion and play as much of it as you want. The interactive exhibits of this unique museum are a can’t miss opportunity here in Indianapolis!
To learn more about Rhythm! Discovery Center visit their website here. To find their hours visit here, and for location information go here. To learn more about the Percussive Arts Society visit their website here.