Did you know that Indianapolis is home to the world’s foremost interactive drum and percussion museum? Rhythm! Discovery Center is a hands-on museum in downtown Indy that features unique, interactive exhibits that highlight the history of drumming. The museum is a place where the history of percussion is preserved, celebrated and shared.
The Rhythm! Discovery Center was founded in 2009, and has lots of artifacts and hands-on percussion instruments to explore. The museum is the brainchild of the Percussive Arts Society, the largest member-based international percussion organization in the world. Visitors of all ages are invited to “find their rhythm” as they try out different playing techniques, delve into individual instruments, and enjoy musical performances from local and national artists and ensembles.
“The Beginning” is the newest exhibit at Rhythm! Discovery Center, and displays the first drum set used by Ringo Starr of The Beatles. The Ludwig Black Oyster Pearl bass drum and toms were used throughout the band’s eight years of touring. As one of the top-selling bands of all time, The Beatles used this drumhead on The Ed Sullivan Show, during their first live televised appearance in the U.S.
Not all of the exhibits at Rhythm! Discovery Center allow you to touch and interact with them, but many do!
Be amazed by the world of percussion in the museum’s “Time Tunnel” exhibit. Explore the history of how drums are made, the materials they are made from, and the different sounds they create. Visitors also have the chance to try out a tam-tam, and experience the vibrations of an eight-foot gong drum.
Evolving Sounds: Percussion Past & Present
In “Evolving Sounds,” visitors can interact with one-of-a-kind instruments and discover how percussion instruments are used in different cultures all over the world. One of the instruments in this exhibit, the celestaphone, which is made of meteorites!
The “It’s Rudimentary” exhibit allows visitors to practice their rudimental knowledge on the practice pads throughout the exhibit. Guests can also learn the basics of drumming by watching short videos from expert drummers.
Drums & Drummers Exhibit
This exhibit lets guests play on a variety of drum sets, and learn how drummers customize their sets for the perfect sound.
Groove Space Family Area
For families who want to jam together, the Groove Space is the place to check out in the museum. This area allows everyone to dive into the world of percussion, and kids can try out hundreds of percussion instruments from around the world. Interactive instruments include drum sets, cymbals, and several types of mounted percussion and drums.
Rhythm! Discovery Center also offers programming on special days. If you’d like to learn more about the drums by participating in a drum circle or watching a live performance, just visit on a Saturday at 11 a.m. or 2 p.m. These events are included with general admission. Group tours and school field trips are also available.
Why You Should Visit Rhythm! Discovery Center
With six exhibits and a collection of more than 2,000 instruments, Rhythm! Discovery Center gives kids a unique, hands-on introduction to the world of percussion — a tool used throughout the world for decades. The whole family can learn more about history, playing techniques, and instruments. It’s educational, inspiring and a ton of fun for the entire family!
Rhythm! Discovery Center (website) is located at 110 W. Washington Street, Suite A Lower Level, Indianapolis. Hours are Sunday: 12–5pm, Monday: 10am–5pm, Tuesday-Thursday: CLOSED, Friday: 10am–5pm, Saturday: 10am-5pm.