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America at The Crossroads: The GUITAR and a Changing Nation

Jun 10 | 10:30 am - Oct 23 | 5:00 pm



“America at the Crossroads: The GUITAR and a Changing Nation” looks at America’s evolution through the lens of its most popular instrument—an instrument that has been part of our cultural heritage since the country’s founding. The guitar has been a symbol for everything from generational differences and racial divide on to politics, consumer marketing, and fashionable relevance.

Visitors to this exhibit will experience the history and cultural impact of the guitar in an exhibit that contains 40 instruments representing significant moments in America’s evolution—from the earliest Spanish invasion to the nation’s modern status as a global superpower. The artifacts are supplemented with video, photographs, and illustrations that depict important events, artists, and instruments of the last century.

Guitars are also a symbol of the nation’s diverse culture, ethnography, and geography. Its most famous and skilled practitioners have been spread across race, gender, religion, and ethnicity. Significantly, diversity and inclusion are at the heart of what has made the guitar popular. The exhibit shows how the evolution of the guitar—and its subsequent popularity—was driven not by those in establishment roles or positions of power but by the disenfranchised and the unrecognized.