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Meet Carolyn Grant of Museum of Making Music in Carlsbad

Today we’d like to introduce you to Carolyn Grant.

Carolyn, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
The Museum of Making Music was developed by the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) to honor and celebrate its centennial (1901-2001). The museum opened its doors to members of NAMM in 1998 and subsequently opened to the public in 2000.

Housed at NAMM’s global headquarters in Carlsbad, CA, the museum’s mission is to celebrate, interpret and share the accomplishments and impact of the music products industry and to connect our visitors to music and music making.

Over the past couple of decades, we have developed a special exhibitions program, a unique concert series, an adult band and orchestra program, workshops, a volunteer program, a school tour program known as MusicVentures, and a fundraising strategy to position us for success.

I was hired in 1998 by the museum’s founding director. I supported her in preparing the museum for the public opening. After her departure in 2001, I became an interim executive director and then executive director. Arriving at the Museum was the result of a focused career search combined with a generous dose of serendipity.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
The road has been quite smooth. Twenty years ago, we were given an opportunity to build something meaningful; to create an identity and a purpose that would allow us to serve our communities through music.

It is an opportunity that few have had, and we feel very fortunate.

Challenges along the way were more kin to adventures, opportunities for creative thought, exploratory dialogue and innovative problem-solving.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Museum of Making Music story. Tell us more about the business.
The Museum of Making Music presents the storied history of musical instruments and products—from the invention to creation, to market—as its canvas to enrich people of all ages and backgrounds. We do 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 enhance and connect lives.

We are known for our concert series, the unique perspective of our exhibitions and for our interactive programming. We are proud of our work to open–or re-open– the doors to music and music making for people who have missed that opportunity for whatever reason. We are unique as a museum as we are connected to a global organization. This position offers us a broad perspective on the industry of musical products around the world.

We are particularly inspired by our current multi-year museum renovation project. Still, in the very early conceptual stage, we envision our museum with opportunities to expand one’s own learning, more ways to engage with musical instruments, and the use of technology to enhance our connectivity.

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