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New Durham exhibit showcases the history and science of the guitar
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New Durham exhibit showcases the history and science of the guitar

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Three guitars that belonged to the late Eddie Van Halen have sold for a combined $422,000 at auction. 

OMAHA — The Durham Museum opened its latest exhibit recently, and it was the perfect day to spend indoors exploring the world of the guitar.

The interactive exhibit, “Guitar: The Instrument That Rocked The World,” not only includes more than 70 instruments on display, but also allows visitors to interact with the STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math) elements behind the guitar.

Sandra Galvan brought her daughters Marliss, 8, and Melody, 2, to see the exhibit.

“We saw that this was coming to town, and (Marliss) really likes guitars, so we came to check it out,” Sandra said. “I really like the interactive aspects of it all because it’s very educational.”

Marliss said her favorite part of the exhibit was the “big guitar.”

A guitar more than 40 feet long in the center of the exhibit has been featured in the Guinness Book of World Records.

Durham spokeswoman Jessica Brummer said the exhibit is great for all ages because of everything it entails.

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“I think it does a really good job of blending history and culture and science,” she said. “There’s a lot of those hands-on science elements, where you can learn about the science and sound behind the instrument itself.”


A Gibson Les Paul is one of more than 70 guitars in the exhibit.

Some of the STEAM elements of the exhibit include testing the sounds of different types of guitar strings and learning about sound waves and how guitars are engineered.

Brummer said the exhibit was supposed to come to the museum last summer but was rescheduled after the Durham closed because of the pandemic.

“Guitar” is a part of the Durham’s traveling exhibition program. Brummer said the exhibit is from the National Guitar Museum and will be on display through April 25.

Mark and Victoria Gammell also made the trek in the cold to see the new exhibit.

Mark has played the guitar for the last 40 years and has built them for the last five.

“I’ve played for a long time, so I wanted to check it out because it’s an unusual exhibit you don’t expect to see,” he said. “They show a variety of instruments within the whole sphere of the guitar world.”

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Victoria said she liked that the exhibit is educational for those who know a lot about guitars and those who don’t.

“As the wife of a guy who plays and makes guitars, I’ve gotten to know the parts pretty well,” she said. “This exhibit helps you appreciate the design and technique that goes into it.”

Alongside the guitar exhibit, the Durham partnered with the Omaha Conservatory of Music to showcase “Instrumental: Making Music with the Omaha Conservatory of Music,” which is geared toward children and families.

“It’s all about how you can make your own musical instruments with things you have at home,” Brummer said. “This companion show really gives people a way to maybe understand how they can bring music back to their homes with things they have.”

Tickets to the Durham Museum must be purchased in advance. “Guitar” is included with museum admission.

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