Reviewed by Margaret Thompson
New York City’s loss is our gain, Richmond. When former Guitar Magazine editor, Harvey Newquist, discovered that the U.S. didn’t have a guitar museum, he set out to change that. The Big Apple, home of so many fabulous museums, seemed to be a logical home for it. But with two museums in the midst of closing during the economic downturn, he thought better of that idea. Instead, Newquist took his guitar museum on the road. That’s exactly why Richmonders can enjoy Guitar: The Instrument that Rocked the World, now through January 6, 2013 at Science Museum of Virginia.
Over sixty guitars and nearly one hundred historical artifacts will remind you why the guitar is the most enduring icon in American history. It’s been around longer than baseball, soft drinks, and sports cars. Not a fan of rock ‘n roll? No worries! Guitar celebrates all music, from classical, to heavy metal. And let’s not forget the beloved ukulele. Mr. Newquist remarked that it’s been especially great seeing so many dads coming out with the family. Even grandparents have been flocking to Guitar, reliving “the good old days” while the kids have fun strumming the interactive instruments, touch screen exhibits, and of course, playing the Guinness world record breaking 43.5 foot long guitar.
This fully immersive exhibition explores all facets of the world’s most popular instrument (3 million are sold each year – more than all other instruments combined!), from the science, sound, and history, to its cultural impact. The roomy exhibit hall is a parent’s dream, with encased instruments (and their stories) on the walls, and the interactive displays installed on stations in the center of the room. Kids 4 and up will enjoy this thoroughly with their adults.
Free with museum admission, the exhibit also includes acoustic performances on most Saturdays through December 15. Head over to smv.org for all the details.