The American Banjo Museum was only open for about 30 minutes Thursday when the first tour bus happened to park next door so a load of passengers could grab lunch at Abuelo’s.
Their next stop, unplanned, was the museum itself. Meanwhile, across the street, young musicians could be seen enjoying a break outside the Oklahoma Hardware Building, home to the recently opened Academy of Contemporary Music. Sometimes historic shifts occur suddenly and are very noticeable. And that’s exactly what I suspect we’re seeing in Bricktown. For years, civic leaders have worried about Bricktown’s mix being dominated too much by restaurants and clubs, with too few diversions or retail to keep the area from growing stale. The museum represents the part of Oklahoma usually missing in Bricktown — the old- fashioned family-oriented entertainment that, yes, even involves bluegrass music that is more associated with attractions in the Ozarks. Sitting inside the museum’s replica of a Shakey’s Pizza Parlor with my 7-year-old son Sunday, we joined a packed room listening to bluegrass music. The music was enjoyable for both of us, and it fits. It fit this old brick warehouse district that was built between statehood and the Great Depression.