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Strings of Change: The Joan Baez Exhibit at the Martin Guitar Museum

Joan Baez, a name synonymous with folk music and social activism, has been an inspiration across generations. Her music, characterized by its purity and powerful messages, has been a beacon of hope and resistance. The Martin Guitar Museum, in a fitting tribute, has curated an exclusive exhibit that showcases Baez's journey through her instruments, artwork, and personal memorabilia.

As seen in
Guitar Girl Magazine Issue 24 – Winter 2023

In the quaint town of Nazareth, Pennsylvania, a new exhibit at the Martin Guitar Museum is striking a chord with music enthusiasts and history buffs alike. Celebrating the life and musical legacy of Joan Baez, this exhibit, a first of its kind, delves deep into the soul of a woman who not only shaped the sound of a generation but also used her voice as a powerful instrument of change.

Joan Baez, a name synonymous with folk music and social activism, has been an inspiration across generations. Her music, characterized by its purity and powerful messages, has been a beacon of hope and resistance. The Martin Guitar Museum, in a fitting tribute, has curated an exclusive exhibit that showcases Baez’s journey through her instruments, artwork, and personal memorabilia.

A Journey Through Strings and Songs 

The exhibit is a treasure trove for fans and historians. It features Baez’s iconic 1929 Martin 0-45 guitar, a silent witness to history, having been played during her performance of “We Shall Overcome” at the March on Washington alongside Martin Luther King, Jr. This guitar, more than an instrument, is a symbol of the civil rights movement and Baez’s unwavering commitment to social justice.

Another highlight is the 1880 0-40 Martin Guitar, which Baez used extensively between 1966 and 1968. This guitar, which accompanied her voice on the album Joan, is adorned with a handwritten setlist of Bob Dylan’s protest songs, echoing the era’s call for change. The exhibit also features a prototype of Baez’s artist model, complete with a quirky anecdote about its unique inscription, revealing a lighter side to Baez’s personality.

Art Beyond Music 

Joan Baez, known for her melodious voice, is also a talented visual artist. The exhibit includes ten pieces of her original artwork, including a painting of Bob Dylan, offering a glimpse into her multifaceted artistic soul.

Personal photographs and handwritten lyrics, carefully selected by Baez, add an intimate touch, allowing visitors to connect with her on a personal level.

Chris Martin at Baez opening ceremony at Martin Guitar Museum

Celebrating a Legacy 

The opening of the exhibit was marked by a special event featuring guest speakers and a musical performance in honor of Baez. This exhibit, open until April 2024, is not just a display of artifacts; it’s a celebration of a woman who used her art to fight for peace, equality, and justice.

A Visit to Remember 

The Martin Guitar Museum, a custodian of musical history, invites music lovers and guitar enthusiasts to immerse themselves in this unique experience. This exhibit is more than a walk down memory lane; it’s an exploration of the impact one artist can have on the world. As you wander through the exhibit, you’re not just observing history; you’re becoming a part of it.

Photos courtesy of Martin Guitar

Tara Low

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