All the dirt, news, culture and commentary for Oklahoma's second century.

American Banjo Museum hosting America’s Super Picker

M. Tim Blake / Red Dirt Report
Banjos on display in the American Banjo Museum.
Fertile Ground Compost Service

OKLAHOMA CITY – Upon entering the American Banjo Museum, located at 9 E. Sheridan, in Oklahoma City’s Bricktown District, one can’t help but be struck by the gleaming gold and silver banjos in the many cases around the museum.

The museum, which is a 21,000 square foot facility, contains over 400 instruments, along with recordings, film, video, instructional materials and memorabilia relating to the banjo. Founded by Brady Hunt and Jack Canine in 1998, and originally located in Guthrie, the museum was then known as the National Four-String Banjo Hall of Fame Museum.

In its early days, the museum was primarily focused on the four-string banjo, which was the predominate stringed instrument of the Jazz Age of the 1920’s and early 1930’s. As the museum evolved, it has expanded its collection to include every chapter in the banjo’s history, from its roots in American slavery, up to and including its modern popularity as a folk and Bluegrass instrument.

The American Banjo Museum currently is hosting an exhibition honoring Oklahoma’s own Roy Clark. Titled “America’s Super Picker: Roy Clark,” the exhibit features rare photos and memorabilia collected over Clark’s long career as an entertainer. Also included is an exclusive video interview in which Clark discusses his music and career in the entertainment industry.

The museum is also featuring two unique masterwork design banjos, on loan from Nechville Banjos of Bloomington, Minnesota, and Bishline Banjos, of Tulsa. The Nechvillle Banjo, known as the “Merry,” celebrates the holiday season with a Christmas tree binding, along with the bridge which is made from Olive wood retrieved from the Garden of Gethsemane in Israel. The “Merry” took craftsmen over seven years to build.

The second banjo is the Bishline Tenth Anniversary model. This instrument is the first of only ten made. Its armrest and resonator are made from Amboyna wood imported from Ambon Island in Indonesia, and its neck is fashioned from old growth Honduran Mahogany. The banjo also features mother of pearl inlay with raw brass and tortoise shell style tuning pegs.

The American Banjo Museum also hosts interactive events, concerts, and jam sessions. For more information, visit americanbanjomuseum.com.

Banjo autographed by American Folksinger Pete Seeger.

Banjo owned by Les Paul, pioneer of the electric guitar.

B&D Ne Plus Ultra Silver Bell Banjo, circa 1928.

Gibson Earl Scruggs Standard Banjo, circa 1985.

Pete Seegar Dearing prototype banjo, and other instruments used by folksingers.

One of Roy Clark’s performance suits.

The “Merry” banjo (background) and the Bishline Tenth Anniversary Model banjo (foreground).

Anatomy of a five string banjo.

Enjoy this? Please share it!

Help support Red Dirt Report

About the Author

M. Tim Blake

M. Tim Blake is a photographer with three decades of experience.  His work includes...

read more

Enjoy this? Please share it!

About Red Dirt Report

Red Dirt Report was launched July 4, 2007 as an independent news website covering all manner of news, culture, entertainment and lifestyle stories that affect and interest Oklahoma readers and readers outside of our state. Our mission is to educate, promote civic engagement and discourse on public policy, government and politics. Our experienced journalists provided balanced in-depth coverage of news stories that affect Oklahomans. Our opinion/editorial stories come from a wide range of political view points. We carry out our mission by reporting, writing, and posting news and information. read more

Member of the Oklahoma Press Association
Member of Investigative Reporters & Editors
Member of Diversity Business Association
Member of Uptown 23rd

Rotary Club of Bricktown OKC
Keep it Local OK