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Gazette Premium Content Exhibit explores Baltimore's banjo history

Associated Press Updated: April 1, 2014 at 3:15 am

BALTIMORE (AP) — A new museum exhibit explores the history of the banjo in Baltimore, home to the first U.S. banjo factory.

The exhibit is called "Making Music: The Banjo in Baltimore and Beyond." It opens Tuesday for about six months at the Baltimore Museum of Industry.

Co-curator Robert Winans says banjos evolved from stringed instruments originating in West Africa that were made from gourds. He says the slave trade brought the instruments to North America.

Baltimore became a banjo production center when William Boucher (boo-SHAY') began building them commercially in the 1840s.

The instruments were popularized by blackface minstrels and became a staple of Appalachian music in the 20th century.

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