I received this inquiry from the Smithsonian about a drum in one of their exhibits at the National Museum of African American Culture. Please read and comment if you have any info. Also contact information is below if you have solid info. Please read the entire message and look at the link before you cry “racism”. This is about documenting racism for the historical record. These drums existed and are part of drum history which is what Not So Modern Drummer is all about. My personal opinion is that documenting these cultural artifacts from the early era of segregation is part of what has to be done to work toward eradicating racism in the population and in the government.
My name is Caroline Bowers and I am working for the Music and Performing Arts department at the Smithsonian National Museum of African American Culture. We are currently working on researching an object that the museum accessioned in 2007 and we have little information on. I found your website online and was hoping that your network of drum experts may be able to assist us.
Here is a link to our record of the drum with more information:
I am working on seeing if there was some sort of appraisal done when the drum arrived in our collection, which might indicate a maker. As of right now, however, the information in this link is as much as we have. We don’t have any specific questions about the object, we are looking to gather any information that might be relevant to its history and context. Outside of researching minstrel music practices more generally, we would love to have more information specific to this object. Could you please share with your network, or anyone you know who may have specific experience with minstrel drums?
Please let me know if you can help, or if you have any suggestions for people that I can reach out to.
Graduate Intern, Music and Performing Arts