The banjo is one of America’s most cherished musical instruments that runs deep into the nation’s heritage. It remains an essential instrument in bluegrass and international folk music, along with the fiddle, guitar and mandolin. The banjo originally came from West Africa and was brought to North America hundreds of years ago. You can learn a lot about the history of the banjo at the American Banjo Museum in Oklahoma City, OK.
The American Banjo Museum comprises two floors that cover 16,000 square feet of gallery and exhibit space. The first floor spans over three centuries of banjo development beginning in the 1600s. The eight minute walk is like a journey through time that includes the minstrel era of the 1840s, the classic era of the 1880s, and the Jazz Age of the 1920s. The banjo was revived after World War II with renewed interest in bluegrass music, popularized by Earl Scruggs. It grew even more popular with the folk movements of the 1950s and 1960s, as exhibits present rare banjos of each era.
The second floor is a continuation of 20th century exploration from the 1920s jazz era through the the 1960s. One of the exhibits highlights the popular folk trio The Kingston Trio with photography, audio, video, and rare artifacts. Another exhibit simulates a 1960s era Shakey’s Pizza Parlor. The second floor is also home to the annual American Banjo Museum Hall of Fame.
Museum Instruments and Media
The history of the banjo at the American Banjo Museum is well documented, especially during the Jazz Age of the 1920s and 1930s. Over 300 instruments are on display at the museum including replicas of primitive instruments. What makes the museum a special treasure to banjo fans is that it’s the only museum in the world with a vast collection of artifacts and media related to the banjo. You can learn about banjo history in numerous ways at the facility, such as watching films and reading instructional materials. The facility is home to thousands of audio and video recordings that represent all playing styles associated with the banjo.
To find all your banjo needs, visit Banjo.com. We are also here to assist you with any questions you may have.