Spotlighting Music History in Music City
Belmont University partnered with ESa and Advent to create the Gallery of Iconic Guitars, a museum where visitors can experience historic musical instruments, enjoy celebrity guest performances and learn the stories behind some of the past century’s most desired guitars, mandolins and more.
Known worldwide for its music and music business programs, Belmont houses the Steven Shaw Collection — a trove of pre-World War II acoustic instruments and highly coveted electric guitars and basses. Shaw (son of jazz great Artie Shaw and grandson of Jerome Kern), willed the collection to vintage guitar expert George Gruhn, who brought it to Belmont.
With Advent’s designs integrated into ESa’s architecture, the space echoes acoustic instrument design, including intricate inlay, woodwork and rich finishes. The gently curved floor inlay takes its cue from the lovely scrollwork of historic mandolins, while curves and details throughout echo the complex inner structure of instruments. Displays featuring Belmont’s celebrity alumni connect the space with the Belmont story, interweaving the university’s significance in American music with that of the collection. Throughout, warm colors and sophisticated materials complement the elegant beauty of the instruments on display.