Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Oklahoma City ... American Banjo Museum

From Thursday November 21, 2013

I felt I had to publish the two museum experiences I had in Oklahoma City last week in separate posts.   After visiting the National Memorial and Museum I drove around exploring the neighborhoods of this city and tried to decompress for an hour or so.

I'd also wanted to visit the American Banjo Museum while in the City; so I finally drove into Bricktown, to the east of downtown, which used to be a major warehouse district, the Santa Fe Railroad passing right through.  Now it's the entertainment district, much like the renewed warehouse districts in many large cities like San Francisco, New Orleans, NYC, etc.  The major attractions of the district are the Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark, the navigable Bricktown Canal, the 16-screen Harkins movie theater, many restaurants, including Toby Keith's I Love This Bar and Grill, and the corporate headquarters of Sonic Drive-In.......

And, my destination .... The american Banjo Museum
Once again, in the middle of a workday, I found a parking space right outside the front door of the museum.  Of course, the building is made of bricks!

The American Banjo Museum is a world-class facility honoring the "rich history, vibrant history and unlimited future of the banjo."  It contains the largest collection of banjos on public display in the world.  Included in the displays are 'primitive instruments developed by African slaves in the Old South, Minstrel Age instruments from the 19th century, post WWII instruments used in bluegrass, folk and world music, and a core collection of ornately decorated banjos made in America during the Jazz Age of the 1920s and 30s.'

I don't play the banjo, never have; but, after this visit I'm tempted to try.  What an interesting and fun time I had in my visit .... bringing back happy memories of my childhood, learning a lot about this interesting instrument and the people who play(ed) it.  This is definitely a great museum to visit for people of all ages....

Again, this 21,00 square feet of exposition space is divided into the history of the banjo and its mostly 'happy' sound.
                                                                    Enjoy .....

 As you walk through an era of banjo history the sound system plays the appropriate banjo music

This is just a sampling of the 70-some photos I took.  What an interesting afternoon.  As you can see, the 'banjo story' is described all around the rooms of the museum.  There are also lots of audio and video presentations by banjo great performances ..... Mickey Rooney (1942), Minstrels shows, Roy Smeck, Eddy Peabody on the Lawrence Welk TV Show, Earl Scruggs, J.D. Crowe, Don Reno, Steve Martin, Alison Brown, the Muppets .... the lis goes on.

Of course, my very favorites:  The Kingston Trio and the Limeliters.  From the movies, there's a video of Cool Hand Luke, Paul Newman, playing, and the scene in the 1972 movie, "Deliverance," that I so-well remember ....  If you've not seen the movie, watch this video.  If you have seen the movie, watch this scene again .....


  1. Well, now you've done it....you said the magic word. Sonic! Now I know where we are going to get our lunch today....and a Sonic Raspberry Ice Tea. Use to be hooked on Sonic Diet Cokes, honestly, nothing better to drink than a Sonic Diet Coke. Something about the Ice they put in the cups. Like their onion rings and Mozzarella Sticks, and their burgers.....Hey Marcia, guess where we are going to lunch today? Thank goodness there is one in Roseville. :)

  2. Love your blog. It's like reading an old friend's musings. Thanks for posting it.

  3. What an interesting place. I would have never thought of going to a banjo museum! look at the art work on some ... Dueling Banjos was a HUGE hit in the 70's ... I remember it well... I'm humming it now!

    What a movie Deliverance was and a lot of people still are afraid of certain parts of the south citing Deliverance Country,... HAhaa... oh, me.

    Loved the tour very much, Mary-Pat....

  4. I'm glad you enjoyed the film Departures. I really enjoyed Arranged.

  5. In a newer genre I really enjoy the music of Béla Fleck. Banjos are e unique and special sound.

    1. Thanks, Peter. I just checked him out on YouTube and like what I heard.

  6. Mom,
    That was awesome! Who knew OKC was the banjo capital of the world? Not me! A couple of my favorite bands drop a banjo in there every now and then and it's incredible. The Deliverance banjo scene sticks with you forever... I love you and I love your blog.

    1. The redevelopment of that whole warehouse district has occurred within the last 15 years, or so. It's impressive. I'm not sure that OK City thinks of itself as the 'banjo capital' but it's done a wonderful job of letting the world know about them. I could have stayed there for several more hours, but, alas, I needed to get on the road back to my RV park (28 miles W) because of commute traffic. Well, 'traffic' OK City style, is NOTHING - one slow down for about 3 minutes - and that was it! Now, I'll just have to go back to see the rest!