Learn all about the guitar at Bishop Museum’s newest exhibit

Bishop Museum
Bishop Museum

Visitors can learn all about one of the world’s most popular instruments when Bishop Museum’s newest exhibition opens Saturday.

“Guitar: The Instrument that Rocked the World” explores the science, sound, history and cultural impact of the guitar through both historical artifacts and engaging, hands-on displays. The 5,000-sq.-ft. exhibit features more than 60 instruments, including what the Guinness Book of World Records calls the world’s biggest playable guitar, which spans more than 40 ft. long and 16 ft. wide.

Stringed instruments from the museum’s historic cultural collections, including a steel guitar and surf legend Duke Kahanamoku’s personal ukulele, will also be on display.

“It’s hard to find anyone who hasn’t been affected by the guitar, especially here in Hawaii where we see such strong connections with the ukulele and slack key guitar,” said Mike Shanahan, director of visitor experience at Bishop Museum.

“One of the cool things about us being in Hawaii is we have one of the first electric guitars ever made, and what a lot of people don’t know is that the electric guitar was made to play Hawaiian music, not rock-and-roll and not the blues,” said Harvey Newquist, executive director, National Guitar Museum. “It was used so that lap steel players could be heard over and above the other members of the band.”

Other highlights include an interactive display that explores how guitars and amplifiers produce sound, and instruments that were produced by laser printers.

The exhibit runs through Labor Day, Sept. 1.

Admission into Bishop Museum: Adults – $19.95; Youth (4-12) – $14.95 and Seniors (65+) – $16.95; Hawaii residents and Military with ID – Adults $12.95; Youth (4-12) – $8.95 and Seniors (65+) $10.95; (non-resident visitors accompanied by Military or a Hawaii resident with ID Adults – $16.95; Seniors (65+) – $13.95; and Youth (4-12) – $11.95); Bishop Museum members and children age three and younger are always free.

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