October is American Archives Month and museums across the nation are using this occasion to raise awareness about the value of archives and archivists.
As part of American Archives Month, the American Banjo Museum is giving you a peek into our archives with a short series of blog posts highlighting some of the odd and amazing items being preserved at the only banjo museum in the world.
Every museum has those items in its archives whose presence defies explanation. And, the American Banjo Museum is no different. From figurines to pill boxes to belt buckles, salt & pepper shakers, decanters, even a tie rack, the archives of the American Banjo Museum are home to some wonderful banjo-related items.
From Henry Ossawa Tanner’s 1893 painting The Banjo Lesson to folk art to photography and sculpture, the banjo is more than just an instrument, it’s woven into the fabric of our country, it’s drawn the line that has separated us and played the music that brought us together, in short, the banjo is the sound of America. And through collectables, clothing accessories and household items beginning in the early 1800s, it continues to be part of our lives today.
In the archives of the American Banjo Museum, the banjo is depicted in wood, metal, ceramic, glass, even sea shells! The two largest collections of banjo-related collectibles in the archives were donated by Buddy Griffin and Smokey Montgomery. Other items have been gifted to the museum by individual donors.
Today these unique and rare collectables reside safely at the American Banjo Museum were they can be preserved for generations to come.