Medieval to Metal: The Art & Evolution of the Guitar

By: Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum on March 6th, 2015

February 28 – May 31, 2015

Guitars strike a chord in this exhibition comprising forty iconic stringed instruments – enlivened by a performance series, hands-on Sound Lab, luthier’s studio, guitar collectors’ stories, and more.

As the guitar’s ancestors evolved over centuries from the earliest ouds and lutes, guitar makers experimented with shapes, materials, and accessories, seeking the perfect blend of beauty and sound.

MusiChurkBerry_GibsonLesPaulcians and luthiers continue to alter guitar design in their endless quest for a fresh aesthetic and sound that fuels creative synergy and musical innovation. Consider the cultural significance of the guitar. Just as American guitar designers of the 1960s departed radically from the iconic hourglass shape, street-corner guitarists led the protest movement that challenged the status quo. Medieval to Metal, a touring exhibition of The National Guitar Museum, comprises design illustrations, guitars, and photographs of performers, bringing sound to life.

Riff, jam, and play a guitar in the Sound Lab and pluck oversized strings and design album covers in Art Park.
See the Musical Thursday Performance Series poster for the lineup of guitarists and the Visiting Artists webpage for information about programs led by luthier John Currier and musician and guitar historian Michael Kudirka. Check the Museum’s events calendar for details about a cigar-box guitar workshop, a TuneSmith Academy workshop and performance, a collectors’ stories open house, and more.

Download – on your smartphone or tablet – our free audio tour app featuring a survey of instrument insights presented by Michael Kudirka (app available beginning February 27) and follow us on social media pages.

Plan to visit often to experience an array of programs and presentations for art and music lovers of all ages.

They’re sure to be a hit!

Exhibition Highlights





For details about special room rates during Medieval to Metal, call the following partner hotels and mention “art museum guitar” or the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum guitar exhibition when inquiring.






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