September 27, 2022
Lyman Allyn Art Museum
Press Contact: Rebecca Dawson, Director of Communications
860.443.2545 ext. 2112 / [email protected]


NEW LONDON – The Lyman Allyn Art Museum has a special treat with a musical theme planned for visitors when its new exhibition, America’s Instrument: Banjos from the Jim Bollman Collection opens Saturday, Oct. 8.

The show, America’s Instrument: Banjos from the Jim Bollman Collection, features more than 40 banjos from the unparalleled private collection of Jim Bollman, banjo collector and historian living in the Boston area.

The exhibition, which closes on Jan. 8, 2023, provides a fascinating look at how the banjo was deeply woven into the history, arts and society of 19th century America. The guest curator for the show is Darcy J. Kuronen, formerly the Pappalardo Curator of Musical Instruments at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.

“I’m thrilled to introduce museum visitors to the fascinating but hidden history of this well-known instrument,” said Museum Director Sam Quigley. “Bollman’s incredible collection offers a riveting look at our country’s past through the musical lens of this powerful cultural symbol.”

Bollman has been collecting 19th-century banjos and related material since the late 1960s, amassing what is reported to be world’s finest and most significant collection of such instruments. An instrument with African predecessors and singular American roots, the banjo has played an important role in many musical genres, including minstrelsy, jazz, bluegrass, folk, and pop.

The show’s opening reception is Friday, Oct. 7 from 5 to 7 p.m., and a conversation with the collector is scheduled for Friday, Oct. 28 from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Reservations for both events are recommended and can be made by calling 860.443.2545 ext. 2129 or emailing [email protected].

In addition, the Museum is planning a special afternoon concert on Saturday, Oct. 15 from 3 to 5 p.m., featuring Tony Trischka, known at the “father of modern bluegrass.” He will perform different styles of banjo music that explore the instrument’s history. Concert tickets are $30 and can be purchased by calling 860.443.2545 ext. 2129 or emailing [email protected].

For more information about these programs or other events on the museum calendar, visit

Tours of the exhibition are available for groups. To schedule tours, call the Department of Learning and Engagement at 860.443.2545, ext. 2128 or email [email protected].

This exhibition is made possible with support from the Frank Loomis Palmer Fund, Bank of America, Trustee, and the Department of Economic and Community Development, Office of the Arts.

For more information or to request images, please contact Rebecca Dawson by email at [email protected].

About the Lyman Allyn Art Museum
The Lyman Allyn Art Museum welcomes visitors from New London, southeastern Connecticut and all over the world. Established in 1926 by a gift from Harriet Allyn in memory of her seafaring father, the Museum opened the doors of its beautiful neo-classical building surrounded by 12 acres of green space in 1932. Today it presents a number of changing exhibitions each year and houses a fascinating collection of over 17,000 objects from ancient times to the present; artworks from Africa, Asia, the Americas and Europe, with particularly strong collections of American paintings, decorative arts and Victorian toys and doll houses.

The Museum is located at 625 Williams Street, New London, Connecticut, exit 83 off I-95. The Museum is open Tuesday through Saturday, 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. and Sundays 1:00 – 5:00 p.m.; closed Mondays and major holidays. For more information call 860.443.2545, ext. 2129 or visit us at

Translate »