Special performance spotlights rare instruments from C. F. Martin & Co.

Craig Thatcher (left) listens as Chris Martin IV (right) tells a story.

On February 27, the MIM Music Theater hosted a unique guitar concert that recounted the history of one of MIM’s longtime partners.

During An Evening with Chris Martin: The History of C. F. Martin & Co., Chris Martin IV, the sixth-generation executive chairman of the renowned Martin guitar company, shared stories from the company’s nearly 200-year history. He brought a selection of notable guitars from the Martin Guitar Museum and highlighted several Martin instruments on loan to MIM, including an original early Stauffer-style guitar made in the late 1830s by Christian Frederick Martin Sr., who founded the company in 1833. C. F. Martin & Co. clinician Craig Thatcher complemented the history by playing most of the instruments, including a D-45 dreadnought guitar, an Eric Clapton Royal Blues prototype guitar, and a 3K soprano ukulele featured in the Martin exhibit in the United States / Canada Gallery.

The 191-year-old C. F. Martin & Co. has been a partner to MIM since the museum was in its preliminary planning stages. In addition to loaning instruments and assisting with the creation of the Martin exhibit, the company has sponsored children’s educational programs at MIM and donated the Little Martin guitars guests play in the Experience Gallery.

Before the concert, Martin toured the Martin exhibit and Acoustic America. He noted that wherever he goes, MIM’s reputation precedes him.

“I travel all over the world,” Martin says, “and inevitably somebody comes up to me and says, ‘Have you been to MIM?’ They say, ‘You’ve got to go!’”