Kingsport Times News Thursday, April 17, 2014

Exhibit explores 200 years of the Virginia dulcimer

February 2nd, 2013 7:15 pm by staff report

William King Museum’s newest exhibition explores the dulcimer’s long journey from northern Europe to the mountains of Appalachia and eventually into the hands of folk musicians across the country.

“The Virginia Dulcimer: 200 Years of Bowing, Strumming & Picking,” on loan from Ferrum College’s Blue Ridge Institute & Museum, will remain on display in the museum’s Price-Strongwell Gallery through Aug. 11.

An opening reception will be held from 6 to 8 p.m., Feb. 7 at the museum; the event will also serve as a reception for William King’s “Fantastic Mechanics” exhibit artists Sean Pace and Robert Sulkin and Panoramic Gallery artist Alison Hall of Roanoke, Va.

The Old World dulcimer, one of the most popular symbols of mountain music, underwent a dramatic change in Virginia. In “The Virginia Dulcimer,” its story unfolds through the display of more than 50 examples of the instrument dating from the 1700s to the present, including an 1832 Floyd County dulcimer, the oldest known signed-and-dated example in the nation.

Several events will be held at William King and around the town of Abingdon in the coming months in conjunction with the exhibition.

At the William King Museum, Ted Olson, professor of Appalachian Studies at East Tennessee State University, will give a lecture and musical performance at 5:30 p.m., Thursday, March 7. The Blue Ridge Institute’s Roddy Moore will lecture on the exhibition at 5:30 p.m., Thursday, April 4 in the museum’s Price-Strongwell Gallery.

The Arts Depot in Abingdon will host musical performances for each of the town’s First Thursday events throughout the duration of the exhibition (Feb. 7, March 7, April 4, May 2 and June 6). The performances, which will be held from 5 to 7 p.m., will feature the State Street String Band, Thumb Strummers and more.

Heartwood: Southwest Virginia’s Artisan Gateway and ‘Round the Mountain will present a demonstration by luthier Jeff Sebens from Carroll County, Va., from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Friday, May 17, and the Virginia Highlands Festival will include a special children’s instrument-making workshop from 2 to 3:30 p.m., Tuesday, Aug. 6.

William King Museum is located at 415 Academy Drive, off West Main Street or Russell Road, in Abingdon. The Museum features five exhibition galleries, artist studios, a museum store and outdoor sculpture garden. Educational programs in the visual arts are offered year-round for both children and adults, and school audiences are served by in-house and outreach programs.

Accredited by the American Alliance of Museums, the William King Museum is a partner of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts and a member of the Virginia Association of Museums, and is funded in part by the Virginia Commission for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Museum hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday; 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., Thursday; and 1 to 5 p.m., Saturay and Sunday.

Admission is $5 for adults; $3 for seniors; and free for students, members and children.

For more information about “The Virginia Dulcimer” or any of its related events, call (276) 628-5005 or visit

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