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Office of the Provost and Under Secretary for Museums and Research
National Museum of African American History and Culture
Dr. John Edward Hasse
National Museum of American History

Music Anniversaries in 2018

The year 2018 marks the anniversary of a number of remarkable music events and people. The pages in this collection travel back through history to look at some of the Smithsonian collections that relate to notable music events and people 50, 100, 150, 200, and 250 years ago. 

Dance and Music

Dance and music, music and dance. One inevitably happens in the presence of the other. Even in dances with no music, the absence of music is felt, and the dancers nonetheless keep a beat or tune in their head or feet.  We describe particularly enjoyable music as being "foot-tappingly good," calling out our desire to move to the music.

Native American Music

Across the Americas there are many different Native American cultures, each with unique musical traditions. The National Museum of the American Indian and other branches of the Smithsonian Institution include in their collections musical and music-related objects from many of these cultures. Gathered here is a sample of those objects.

Greg Adams - On the Banjo

Few musical instruments are more deeply connected to the American experience than the banjo. The banjo was created by enslaved Africans and their descendants in the Caribbean and colonial North America. Here, they maintained and perpetuated the tradition within a complex system of slave-labor camps, plantations, and in a variety of rural and urban settings. From the earliest references in the 17th century, and through the 1830s, the banjo was exclusively known as an African-American tradition with a West African heritage.

Fifty Musical Treasures Featuring Work

Work inspires music and music inspires work. With the celebration of Labor Day, this Spotlight focuses on the ways in which work and music inspire one another to produce more fulfilling work and more meaningful music. Enjoy essays, videos, and objects drawn from across the Smithsonian, and get creative with how you incorporate music into your own daily work life.


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