The Museum regularly curates special exhibitions that help us tell the story of instrument innovations and the music products industry. These exhibitions usually only are viewable for a limited time. Due to their temporary nature, the museum has taken the initiative to cataloging these exhibitions in greater detail so that we may preserve them in a virtual setting.
March 29, 2014 - October 31, 2014
The Museum of Making Music's special exhibit, "The Banjo: A New Day for an Old Instrument," reveals a compelling and triumphant story about "America's Instrument." Today the banjo is nearly everywhere. It's played on children's television, late-night television and at the World Series. Grammy winning artists, famous comedians and international megastars place the banjo at the center of their acts. Today, the "happy instrument" is so popular, a Google search for "banjo lessons" turns up nearly four million hits in 0.25 seconds.
How did that happen? How did the banjo emerge from the plains of West Africa to plantations in the American South? How did it survive the disturbing years of minstrelsy and eventually thrive under the bright lights of country, folk and bluegrass? And finally how did the instrument break from its traditional roots to influence nearly every genre of American popular music, from jazz to rock, from funk to punk?
Accompanied by an impressive array of historical instruments as well as those made by today's companies large and small, the exhibition tells a story of how music is made in America . . . how all elements of the industry – musicians, manufacturers, dealers, consumers, songwriters and publishers – interact in a musical ecosystem centered on the banjo.
November 15, 2013 - January 31, 2014
Celebrating the State of California through sheet music and popular tunes of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Singing the Golden State shared California’s exuberant history, immense geography, diverse population, awesome beauty, commerce, politics, disasters and delights through stunning visuals and nostalgic sounds.
March 23, 2013 - September 30, 2013
Breaking free of its rarefied profile and lofty reputation, the harp takes the leading role in a new exhibit. “The Harp: A Global Story of Man, Music and Medicine” confronts stereotypes and reveals the harp’s indelible place in the history of mankind. A six-performance companion concert series coincides with the exhibit’s opening, featuring an international slate of harps and harpists throughout the spring and summer.
May 19, 2012 - January 2013
Discover a powerful story about a powerful instrument. It's the story of a genius instrument maker cheered by audiences but jeered by competitors. It's the story of a 1920s America wild about a new kind of sound. It's the story of jazz, unleashed, free to roam and improvise like never before. And it's a story of how music is made–an endless cycle of innovation as ancient as music itself, where musician, composer, listener and manufacturer stretch the boundaries of sound, composition and performance.
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September 2011 - March 2012
Centuries before oboes, clarinets, and saxophones were created in Europe, people in the Arab world, Persia, Central and East Asia were inventing and playing a wide variety of reed instruments. Through exploration of roots of modern reed instruments, their adaptations in Europe, and their evolution within American culture, this exhibition retraces a few of the long and winding roads used to get us where we are today.
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June 2010 - September 2010
The Art of the Stompbox highlights the development and use of effects pedals in American popular and experimental music. It showcases a variety of historic effects pedals and includes examples of the most recent designer-manufactured and artist-decorated pedals.
September 2009 - March 2011
ON! focuses on the period between 1900 and 1965 when innovators worked to harness electricity to produce sound in a variety electro-acoustic instruments. Inspired by the advances technology, musicians and manufacturers could see a vast array of new sound possibilities.
October 2008 - March 2009
The Magic & Mystery of Slide Guitar captures the essence and emotion evoked by slide guitar and slide technique and features nearly 70 rare and historic instruments, including: lap steel guitars, pedal steel guitars, Hawaiian lap steel guitars, and several instruments from across the globe that represent the many cultures of slide technique.
August 2007 - January 2008
The Ukulele & You exhibition showcased an unprecedented variety of ukuleles manufactured on the U.S. mainland from the early 1900s to the present day. The eye-popping collection included over 300 instruments ranging from rare historic and modern crafted ukes made of koa, mahogany, and other precious woods to the inexpensive, plastic marvels produced in the 1950s.
May 2006 - July 2007
The first-ever public exhibition of a collection of rare and historic Howe-Orme mandolins, mandolas and guitars. The exhibit, “Howe-Orme: Forgotten Voices Remembered,” featured innovative pieces from the 1890s—some of whose technology is still present in guitar designs of today.
Street Address:Museum of Making Music5790 Armada DriveCarlsbad, CA 92008Phone: (760) 438-5996Fax: (760) 438-8964Toll Free: (877) 551-9976Send us an eMail