On Saturday, March 29, 2014, our newest exhibition, The Banjo: A New Day for an Old Instrument, opens in our special exhibition gallery. Why the banjo? Well, in case you haven’t turned on the radio or television, checked out YouTube, been to a music store, or read a popular magazine lately, the banjo is, quite simply, making a comeback. Big time.
Need proof? Just listen to award-winning musicians like Mumford & Sons, Keith Urban, Taylor Swift, Otis Taylor or Steve Martin (yes, the wild and crazy Steve Martin). Or Béla Fleck, arguably the most talented banjo player of the day, with his 26 GRAMMY® nominations and 13 awards.
Better still, come visit this new exhibition and discover for yourself why the banjo is enjoying such a renaissance. What you will find are more than 50 beautiful and specially selected examples of the instrument spanning over a century, a video showcasing a wide variety of banjo-playing styles, and informational panels that take you down the banjo’s social as well as musical history—a history filled with intriguing and unexpected stories.
This exhibition also has a strong hands-on component—an important element in all MoMM’s special exhibitions—so there is no need to practice the “air banjo.” Instead, visitors have the opportunity to pick up and play an actual acoustic or electric banjo. And there is also a take-home resource guide available—which just might set you on a banjo music-making path for life!
If you play banjo or want to participate in an introductory workshop, you can come to our “Local Banjo Showcase” on Labor Day weekend. If you just love to hear the banjo being played by supreme artists, you should come to our concerts that will accompany the exhibition. (See the back page for information about three of those concerts.) Whether the banjo is new to you, or you’re a veteran banjo player or enthusiast, we are certain there’s something to engage you in this exhibition, which continues through October 31, 2014.