Through May 9, visitors are finding unexpected surprises at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City. The Museum’s original exhibition “The Guitar: Art, Artists and Artisans” is creating some real vibrations across the region with its colorful, entertaining and educational content.
We’re not just talking cowboys and guitars here. Think 50 guitars—worth millions—including some from top recording artists whose image and careers are tied closely to the instrument. Notables include Garth Brooks, Vince Gill, Toby Keith, Lynn Anderson, Brooks & Dunn, Eddy Arnold and Marty Robbins. Others are tribute guitars to such legends as Elvis and B.B. King.
“The Guitar” spans the spectrum of time, hosting some recently built and played and historic models such as a C.F. Martin, circa 1845, lavishly ornamented and presented to Benito Pablo Juárez, President of Mexico. Also on display is a collection of 12 guitars covered with Swarovski crystals that make up a chandelier designed by Dallas, Texas artist Amanda Dunbar of Dunbar Studios.
The exhibition captures the magic of the guitar, the most popular instrument in America. It is an instrument that appeals to all the senses. The sound, beauty and feel of a guitar give both players and listeners a taste of true art. A portion of the exhibit demonstrates how a guitar is built.
A fitting complement to the guitar exhibition is a photo exhibit that also runs through May 9. “The Power of Music: Photographic Portraits of Americans and Their Musical Instruments, 1860-1915” provides rare insight into the prevalence of performed music among 19th century Americans.
With the birth of photography, many musicians—including Civil War soldiers, cowboys, Vaudeville performers and middle-class Victorians—were able to pose with their favorite instruments to show their pride and love of music. The images were collected over a period of 25 years by historian and musician Mark L. Gardner and the vast majority have never been published or assembled for public view.
For information about these exhibitions or other Museum events call (405) 478-2250 or visit www.nationalcowboymuseum.org. The National Cowboy Museum, America’s Premier Western Heritage Museum™, is supported through memberships and private and corporate donations. The Museum is located in Oklahoma City’s Adventure District at the junction of I-35 and I-44.