Lauren Rogers Museum of Art's Newest Exhibition: Medieval to Metal

Calling all music history lovers! An intriguing exhibit has come to the Lauren Rogers Museum of Art this spring season, and it's a must-see if you're a local or simply visiting Laurel for the day. 

The Medieval to Metal is an exploration of the art and evolution of the world's most well-known instrument — the guitar. The collection comprises objects, illustrations, and photographs, bringing the design history of the guitar to museum and gallery visitors. The touring exhibition is curated in partnership with art museums and galleries, and each installation is tailored to the layout, theme, and mission of the art venue.

Executive Director of LRMA, George Bassi, praises the collection as a fascinating exhibit that has drawn thousands of people since its opening in January. 

Bassi says, "The earliest guitar represented is a reproduction of a piece from 3000 BC, the beginning of recorded history, and then it goes to present day. The whole exhibit captures 5000 years of the design of the guitar with a collection of 40 guitars."

This touring exhibit is from the National Guitar Museum in New York, New York, and it's a nationally recognized by museums across the US and peers. The Boston Globe reviewed the exhibit as, "What is likely to prove this year's single most inspired bit of exhibition display—it's easily the most aesthetically resonant—occurs in Medieval to Metal: The Art and Evolution of the Guitar."


According to the Lauren Rogers Museum of Art, the guitar was inspired by the combination of two ancient instruments: a lyre, where many strings were tied over an open space like a gourd bowl or a tortoise shell, or strung from a bowl up to a crossbar. The second was stick like instrument with strings tied from top to bottom. Small gourds were attached to the sticks to increase the volume and improve the sound.

The guitar evolved over time throughout its growing popularity in European and Asian countries.From bowls to flat surfaces to slightly curved lines, guitar makers experimented with hundreds of different shapes looking for the perfect blend of beauty, physics, and sound. It wasn't until the 1950s that it became mass distributed and widely produced. Today we recognize it everywhere we go, and its appearance is universal. 

 Bassi says, "This exhibit spans that whole time period. It's all about design and craftsmanship, and it can really takes you through history in a unique way. The National Guitar Museum recognizes the guitar as one of the most recognizable items on the planet, and it's an honor to offer this interactive and educational collection to the community."

The touring exhibit makes its leave on April 16, 2022, so be sure to make a trip to see it before it concludes. If you aren't able to make it, George Bassi says there will be another impressive installation from the Museum of Modern Art in New York in May. 

He says, "Walker Evans is kind of an iconic 1930s, black and white photographer known around the world. He's really kind of an American icon, because he photographed some of the most famous images in history. He photographed people around the country towards the end of the Great Depression and recorded how the plight of the common American was effected in their cities and towns. There's some images in it that people will recognize that have been used throughout the last 90 years."

Find out more about Lauren Rogers Museum of Art's upcoming events and exhibits here!