Hey there! Welcome back to another museum post! Today, I’m going to tell you about the American Banjo Museum located in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. This museum is in the heart of Bricktown so there’s a lot of other fun places to visit besides the museum!
*All photos were taken at the American Banjo Museum in OKC, Oklahoma.
The museum was originally located in Guthrie, Oklahoma and was called “The National Four-String Banjo Hall of Fame and Museum.” This nonprofit was founded in 1998 by Jack Canine and Brady Hunt. It predominantly featured banjos from the 1920s and 1930s.
Today, the American Banjo Museum is located in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. It features banjos from the late-nineteenth century to the present. There are over 400 instruments in the collection! The details on the banjos were so intricate and beautiful featuring many colors and designs.
Museum Mission Statement: “The mission of the American Banjo Museum is to preserve and promote the banjo while expanding appreciation and understanding of its history and music.”
The banjo is sometimes referred to as “America’s instrument.” The banjo has evolved as an instrument over the past 400 years in the United States. It has roots in American slavery and is still used in Bluegrass and International folk music today in the twenty-first century.
The following exhibits are part of the permanent collection: America’s Instrument, The Minstrel Era – From the Plantation to the Stage, The Classical Era – The Banjo Goes Legit…, The 1920s – The Banjos That Made the Twenties Roar!, Bluegrass and Beyond, The Folk Explosion… A Mighty Wind!, Jazz Age Banjo Treasures, and Your Father’s Mustache Special Event Room (Shown in the Video Below – How cool is this?!)
My Favorite Exhibit
Admittedly, I didn’t really know anything about banjos before going to this museum – especially their history. I had only heard my dad and cousin play a banjo… So I learned a lot on this trip!
I didn’t have a favorite piece in this collection because I didn’t know enough about the instrument to have a favorite banjo, but my favorite exhibit featured women who are famous for playing the banjo.
The American Banjo Museum also features an exhibit detailing the history of ukulele. I didn’t know much about the history of the ukulele before visiting this museum either!
Bonus Tip: The American Banjo Museum has an archive of audio and video recordings, photos, publications, and personal memorabilia from several famous banjo players. This archive is accessible to members by appointment only. Please contact the museum about memberships or viewing collections in the archive.
The American Banjo Museum was definitely a unique museum to visit. This museum most likely has a very niche audience – as someone who loves museums this was a cool place to visit. The museum was laid out very well and the welcome video at the front gave you a crash course on banjo history which was extremely helpful. The video was very informative, but it wasn’t overwhelming.
I hope you’ll go visit this museum soon! If you’re not in Oklahoma, try to find a small music history museum and go visit it! You never know what you might learn or who you might meet!
Happy traveling! Ill talk to ya soon! 🙂
9 East Sheridan Ave
Oklahoma City, OK 73014