Steve Martin makes donation to American Banjo Museum

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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Actor, comedian, author, and modern-day banjo icon, Steve Martin, recently donated a unique piece of banjo history to the American Banjo Museum (ABM) in Oklahoma City.

When honoring Martin with the Mark Twain Prize in 2005, The Kennedy Center commissioned the Gibson Company to create a one-of-a-kind banjo for him.

The engraved and gold-plated banjo features special mother-of-pearl inlays on the fingerboard depicting The Kennedy Center along with a laser-etched image of Mark Twain on the resonator.  Steve Martin’s name and the date of the presentation are also etched into the instrument’s armrest.

After visiting the American Banjo Museum in June of 2019, Martin was inspired to offer this one-of-a-kind banjo to be shared with and enjoyed by visitors.

“The museum is fantastic and will be a really good home for this special banjo,” said Martin.

The banjo, now a part of the museum’s permanent collection, will become the centerpiece of an upcoming exhibit at the American Banjo Museum chronicling the banjo life and contributions of Steve Martin.

ABM executive director, Johnny Baier, commented, “To many people of the current generation, Steve Martin is the banjo.  Being able to display and share one of his personal instruments – a banjo which melds both the musical and comedic sides of such a beloved and respected entertainer and musician – is truly an honor for us.”

Along with the “Mark Twain” banjo, rare photos and videos, as well as a pristine 1927 Gibson Florentine model banjo, which was part of the Steve Martin collection, will be on display for the exhibit.

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