American Banjo Museum – Oklahoma City, Oklahoma - Atlas Obscura

American Banjo Museum

Very likely the only museum in the world that celebrates the glory of the humble banjo. 


Containing more instruments on public display than any other collection in the world, the American Banjo Museum is a thoroughly modern facility devoted to a historically analog instrument.

Appropriated as one of America’s native instruments from African slave culture in the mid-1600s when the instrument was invented using gourds and animal skins, the banjo has been considered an integral part of American music for hundreds of years. This rich history is on display at the museum which features over 300 banjos ranging from handmade folk instruments, to tightly calibrated concert banjos.

In addition to the wall-to-wall banjo collection the museum is interspersed with historic sheet music, related ephemera, and out-of-print records from forgotten banjo greats. The museum prides itself on its collection of ornate Jazz-era banjos, but its true pride should come from devoting its existence to a musical tradition that might otherwise have been forgotten. In the small café at the front, you can even try out some banjo playing yourself.

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