Minstrel Banjo

For enthusiasts of early banjo

Requesting support for a banjo exhibit featuring William E. Boucher, Jr.

Dear Ning Members,

As many of you know, Bob WInans, Pete Ross, and I are preparing a banjo exhibit for the Baltimore Museum of Industry, set to open in February 2014

Here is an update of where things stand: While we are making excellent progress in bringing this project to life, we need help to raise funds to make our total vision into a reality. The purpose of this email is to provide additional information about the project and how you can offer financial support.

About the Project
BMI was recently awarded a 2013 Maryland Traditions Project Grant from the Maryland State Arts Council to support the exhibition and programming for Making Music: The Banjo in Baltimore and Beyond, which will run from February through September, 2014. Partnering with Pete Ross, Bob Winans, and me, BMI is developing this exciting project to foreground historical and contemporary banjo traditions in the city of Baltimore, the state of Maryland, and the surrounding region.

Building on the BMI’s mission to showcase Maryland industries in various formats, this exhibit bridges industry with the arts by providing visitors an opportunity to explore the banjo’s complex history, its connections with manufacturing, and the links that bind the banjo’s past with contemporary, living traditions throughout the state of Maryland. Here, the growth in the making and marketing of banjos in the mid-nineteenth century was directly part of Baltimore’s industrial and commercial boom with a legacy that still resonates today.

The project’s two major components include a banjo exhibit and corresponding public programs. The exhibit will explore the banjo as a Maryland tradition beginning as early as the 1740s, concentrating on the historical components of the banjo’s cultural and manufacturing heritage. It will focus primarily on Baltimore’s William E. Boucher Jr. (1822-1899), a 19th-century entrepreneur with a hugely successful commercial manufacturing and retail banjo business. The public programming will include panel discussions, public lectures and workshops, and public concerts connecting banjo history with 21st-century traditions.

Support the Project with a Tax-Deductible Donation (in 2 easy steps)!

We are seeking support for exhibit fabrication, installation, consultant fees, and programming expenses (e.g., equipment rentals, musician honoraria, panel discussions) toward this important project. If you are willing to offer support, then please consider the following steps:

1) Contact BMI’s Development Associate Katarina Ziegler at 410-727-4808 (ext. 105) or kziegler@thebmi.org to make a donation to help with this exciting project.

2) Choose a contribution method:

  • Online (https://48278.blackbaudhosting.com/48278/sslpage.aspx?pid=208&s...)
  • By phone (they accept MC, VISA, Discover)
  • Write a check with “Banjo Project” in the memo line mailed to “Baltimore Museum of Industry, Attention: Development, 1415 Key Highway, Baltimore, MD 21230” (Please include a note or business card with your name, address, phone, and email address)

Please note, that Baltimore Museum of Industry is a registered 501(c)(3) and contributions are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law and IRS guidelines.

Thanks for your interest in this project. Please let me know what additional questions or comments you may have.

Best regards,


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I'm excited for this. I've contributed and spread the word. I'm already planning our trip up north! 

Thank you for giving us even more banjo to digest!

Hey, Greg: This sounds wonderful! I look forward to this. I hope to be there for the opening. Check's in the mail:-)...

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