Instruments played by the heroes of folk, blues, and bluegrass music

Exhibition Open Now! Closing September 15, 2024.

Acoustic America: Iconic Guitars, Mandolins, and Banjos, MIM’s newest exhibition, presents a once-in-a-lifetime collection of 90 historic stringed instruments—mandolins, guitars, banjos, ukuleles, and more—that have shaped generations of American music since before the Civil War.

Exhibition Trailer

Legends of American Folk Music

See unique details on authentic instruments owned and played by banjo superstar and bluegrass pioneer Earl Scruggs, folk icon Elizabeth Cotten, blues musician Mississippi John Hurt, stars of the Grand Ole Opry, and others. Notably, more than 30 special instruments from the personal collection of mandolin virtuoso David Grisman are on public display for the first time.

Acoustic America illustrates the overlapping histories of exceptional soloists and songwriters, groundbreaking manufacturers, and novel inventions, illuminating how diverse origins combine into enduring traditions.

In partnership with

A catalog for Acoustic America: Iconic Guitars, Mandolins, and Banjos will be available for purchase at the Museum Store or online at

Thank you to our generous donors

Presenting sponsor U.S. Bank

U.S. Bank Logo

Sponsored by John & Joan D’Addario Foundation, MaryAnn & John Mangels

Supported by Jane & John Guild, Jan & David Wood, Carolyn & John Friedman, Elizabeth Biaett & Gary Dickey, and Babette & Richard Burns

Banner image:
Left: Loan courtesy of Darrell Scott
Center: Loan courtesy of David Grisman