Sharing a passion for music with future generations

Before Liz Merchant even stepped inside MIM on her first visit, she had a feeling it was where she belonged. Eight years later, Merchant’s love for MIM has grown deeper through her volunteer work and other contributions to the museum.

Since 2010, Merchant has volunteered more than five thousand hours in several capacities. She has experienced many special moments in her various positions, but one memory stands out. During a museum visit by Paraguay’s Recycled Orchestra, a teenage girl approached Merchant and simply asked, “Lennon?” Merchant quickly understood what the teen meant and pointed toward the Artist Gallery, which houses the piano John Lennon composed “Imagine” on.

“Here is this person from a different continent. We don’t share a language, I’m a half century older than she is, and yet she said two syllables and I knew exactly what she meant and where she wanted to go,” says Merchant. “The unifying nature and universality of music was just so clear to me in that moment.”

Merchant’s passion for music began in her childhood; music was always present at home and she was exposed to the arts at a young age. Merchant’s parents encouraged her to support her life’s greatest passion: music. Aside from volunteering, Merchant is a Circle of Friends member (Curator’s Circle level); she also supported MIM’s 2017 special exhibition Ancient Musical Treasures from Central China and recently made a legacy gift to the museum.

“Throughout my life, music has comforted, sustained, and inspired me. It’s made me jump and cheer and dance. It’s really been the core,” says Merchant. “I want that for the next generation.”