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The Electric Guitar: Inventing an American Icon Opening Weekend

Signature Events

Event Details

Join us at MIM as we celebrate the opening of our newest special exhibition! The Electric Guitar: Inventing an American Icon showcases the dramatic transformation of popular culture brought about by the electrically amplified guitar. From earliest imagination to musical revolution, these are the instruments that electrified the world. Go behind the scenes of this unique exhibition with special guests who will mark the occasion with engaging talks and demonstrations, revealing why the electric guitar made history nearly ninety years ago and still captures our attention today.

Sponsored by Sanderson Lincoln

Instrument Spotlight: Electric Guitars
10:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m.
Become acquainted with the electric guitar by playing one yourself. Try out one of MIM’s two SolidBody Classic SB1-X guitars, a discontinued line of electrics from Taylor Guitars. Best known for its high-quality acoustics, Taylor ventured into the electric guitar market with these versatile instruments in 2008, eventually pulling them from production in 2013 but nonetheless leaving a lasting mark on the guitar-loving world.

Harnessing Electricity: Behind the Scenes of The Electric Guitar with Dr. Richard Walter
2:30–3:30 p.m.  |  Friday
11:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m.  |  Sunday
Join Dr. Richard Walter, the lead curator behind MIM’s newest special exhibition, for an intriguing look at the making of The Electric Guitar: Inventing an American Icon. Learn how the exhibition has come to life as Dr. Walter shares the decision-making and collaborative processes leading to its creation, from initial brainstorming to opening the doors to the public. Be sure to check out the exhibition to get a closer look at these remarkable instruments.

Seeking the Origins of the Electric Guitar: A Conversation with Lynn Wheelwright
11:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m. (Saturday only)
“I’m still looking for that instrument . . . another piece to that puzzle.” Guitar historian, collector, and world-class “guitar geek” Lynn Wheelwright joins MIM for a special conversation about his tireless search to unearth the origins of electric amplification. Learn about his approach to studying rare vintage instruments, his commitment to understanding the electric guitar’s most important innovators, and his unique guitar collection, which makes up the heart of this exciting special exhibition.

Artist Encounter: John Jorgenson and Cindy Cashdollar
2:30–3:30 p.m. (Saturday only)
Don’t miss this extraordinary opportunity to catch the Opening Weekend artists before their evening concert. These two talented musicians will talk about their experiences with the electric guitar through a retrospective lens, discussing topics ranging from the influence of such electric guitar pioneers as Charlie Christian to the evolving stylistic variations in American music that led to the development of instruments such as the dobro and the steel guitar.

John Jorgenson is perhaps best known for his guitar work with groups such as the Desert Rose Band and the Hellecasters. Recognized for his blistering guitar and mandolin licks and his mastery of a broad musical palette, Jorgenson has earned a reputation as a world-class musician, evidenced by his collaborations with Earl Scruggs, Bonnie Raitt, Elton John, Luciano Pavarotti, Bob Dylan, and many others. First coming to national attention in the mid-1980s, Jorgenson drew an eclectic array of artists such as Bonnie Raitt, Bob Seger, and Barbra Streisand because of the artistry he injected into their recordings. While a member of the Desert Rose Band, Jorgenson won the Academy of Country Music’s “Guitarist of the Year” award for two consecutive years.

Dobro, steel guitar, and lap-steel player Cindy Cashdollar’s career has taken some surprising twists and turns that have led her to work with many leading artists in various genres, including Ryan Adams, Bob Dylan, Van Morrison, Dave Alvin, Rod Stewart, Albert Lee, Asleep at the Wheel, Marcia Ball, Jorma Kaukonen, Leon Redbone, BeauSoleil, Daniel Lanois, Redd Volkaert, and Peter Rowan. Cashdollar’s unerring ability to perfectly complement a song or step out with a tasteful, imaginative, and exciting solo—and to do it in so many musical genres—has made her one of the most in-demand musicians on the American roots music scene.

Artist Encounter: Deke Dickerson and John Jorgenson
2:30–3:30 p.m. (Sunday only)
Finish up your weekend with one final chance to hear from MIM’s featured Opening Weekend performers. Welcome back John Jorgenson and get to know Deke Dickerson as they share the stage to discuss the electric guitar’s fascinating past. These two outstanding talents will take part in a conversation about the electric guitar as a central element of American musical identity and its universal impact on music history, and they may even play a few tunes.

Deke Dickerson is one of America’s musical treasures. As an entertainer and musician, he has toured the world and established himself as one of the foremost purveyors of roots music, headlining festivals from Las Vegas to Finland. As a writer and music historian, he is well known for his regular column in Guitar Player magazine and recently authored two lengthy essay projects for Bear Family Record’s 2007 Merle Haggard box sets. As an entrepreneur, Dickerson has partnered with Hallmark Guitars to produce the Deke Dickerson model guitar, as unique in its design as its namesake. His latest project is his new studio album, King of the Whole Wide World. Like his previous albums it is a musical journey through the twisted roots of Americana, but this time the roots go deeper and further than ever before.


Opening Weekend Concerts

Complete your opening weekend experience with live music! Each evening, the special guest artists who spoke during the daytime program will present special evening concerts highlighting some of the vintage sounds that made pioneering electric guitarists famous. Concert tickets are sold separately.

On Friday and Saturday, November 9 and 10, watch John Jorgenson, Cindy Cashdollar, and the Hot Club of Cowtown pay a musical tribute to Charlie Christian at 7:30 p.m. in the MIM Music Theater. More information and tickets are available here.

On Sunday, November 11, join Deke Dickerson and John Jorgenson at 7:00 p.m. in the MIM Music Theater. More information and tickets are available here.

Café Allegro Lunch Menu Highlights

Lentil Stew with Strums, Plucks, Fingerpicks, and Taps

“String-Bending Melody” of Salmon Soup with Overdrive Olives and Amplified Tomatoes

Electrified Shrimp and Guitar Rice Bowl with Reverb, Fried Shallots, Distortion, Sesame Seeds, and Vibrations

Solid-Body Electric Sounds of Sausage Jambalaya and Ripping Creole Chord Riffs of Bell Peppers and Aromatics

“Hammering On” Honey Ricotta Cheesecake

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