OKC's American Banjo Museum announces new educational program featuring Kermit the Frog
As part of a new educational program, elementary school students will learn to embrace and understand the music, art and history of the banjo with the help of one of its most avid - and greenest - fans.
Kermit the Frog will be featured in the new "Banjo Roots" program offered by the American Banjo Museum in Oklahoma City's Bricktown entertainment district.
From its African roots to its mainstream popularity during the Roaring '20s to the bluegrass explosion of the recent past, the music and story of the banjo are inextricably woven into America’s history. The museum's new educational program allows students to visit the museum, attend an interactive performance and even create their own banjos, according to a news release.
The program is hosted by local TV personality, five-time Regional Emmy-winning broadcaster and regional children’s entertainer Lucas Ross.
“I love any opportunity to share music, the banjo, and education with kids,” said Ross, who is also the museum's outreach and promotions coordinator, in a statement. “The colorful history of the banjo grew along with America - and both stories continue to evolve and intersect. It’s exciting to share this story.”
Students will participate in a learning experience that includes a live showcase of different banjo playing styles, singalongs and hands-on activities that complement the curriculum.
After a video history of the banjo – featuring none other than the world’s most famous amphibian, Kermit the Frog, along with a host of important figures in American music history, students will have a chance to build and decorate a mock banjo of their own, according to the news release.
“As a follow-up to our Learning Lounge educational and research facility, the new 'Banjo Roots' program represents our first opportunity to introduce the banjo in a meaningful way to school groups,” said American Banjo Museum Executive Director Johnny Baier in a statement.
“We couldn’t be more proud of this exciting new educational opportunity.”
While Kermit the Frog has been on display at the museum as part of the "Jim Henson – Life and Legacy" exhibit, having him participate in the telling of banjo history is something of a dream come true for Ross, a Muppets super-fan.
“Kermit was my introduction to the banjo and I’m sure countless others remember him strumming those opening chords of 'The Rainbow Connection' while embracing their own fond banjo memories. Now, to appear with him on screen, is literally the highlight of my career," Ross said in a statement. "I mean, how many people get to work with their hero?”
Kermit the Frog’s appearance and inclusion in telling the banjo’s story was made possible by Muppets Studio, Disney and The Jim Henson Legacy.
“Jim Henson loved banjo music and expressed that through his characters. The American Banjo Museum is the ideal place to demonstrate that appreciation, providing a unique opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of Jim’s creative expression. Young audiences served by the museum will no doubt find inspiration from his example,” said Karen Falk, Vice President of The Jim Henson Legacy, in a statement.
Due to the success of "Jim Henson – Life and Legacy," the exhibit has been extended through May 2020. The exhibit recently won the Oklahoma Museum Association’s Award for Outstanding Exhibit. To read my recent interview with Heather Henson, daughter of the late Jim Henson, about the exhibit, click here.
To schedule groups for “Banjo Roots,” schools may call the museum at 604-2793 or email email@example.com.
Based on a minimum of 20 students and maximum of 44, prices for the program are $5 per student, with no charge for chaperones. For pre-kindergarten through fifth-grad groups one adult will receive complimentary admission for every five students. For groups in the sixth through 12th grades, one adult will be admitted free for every 10 students, according to the release.
For more information about upcoming events, go to americanbanjomuseum.com or call 604-2793.