The museum is currently home to over 400 instruments, from primitive handmade instruments to holy grail of contemporary bluegrass. Every era of banjo evolution is represented in the American Banjo Museum’s instrument collection. The museum’s massive gathering of ornately decorated four-string tenor and plectrum banjos from the Jazz Age of the 1920s and 30s is the largest collection of its type on public display in the world and is a true national treasure.
The American Banjo Museum’s archive currently holds thousands of audio and video recordings of banjo performances ranging from the earliest days of sound recording to the present day with all playing styles represented. Much of the collection is preserved digitally via the museum’s ongoing conservation efforts.
Banjo related publications, periodicals, photographs and personal memorabilia are preserved for future generations, from the personal scrapbook of Frederick Bacon to the banjo head signed by Franklin Delano Roosevelt at a Perry Bechtel performance in 1933. The collection contains many rare and one of a kind items. The collection of song books, sheet music, instructional folios and methods is extensive, with publications dating from the 1800s to the present day.
Access to the museum’s archives is available to members by appointment. Digital copies of items from the museum’s collection which are in public domain and no longer commercially available may be obtained upon request. Inquiries regarding specific items, performers or recordings may be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.