System - Event Management
August 24, 2019 thru October 20, 2019

The String Theory Project

is presented by the Danville Museum of Fine Arts and History (DMFAH)

in collaboration with the Blue Ridge Institute Museum at Ferrum College, local musicians and luthiers.


Location: The Schoolfield Gallery, DMFAH, 975 Main Street, Danville, VA 24541 (434) 793-5644

Dates:  August 24-October 20

The public is invited to the opening reception Saturday, August 24, 5:30-7:30 p.m.  Welcome and remarks at 6:00 p.m. Music provided by Dos Guitars


An exhibition of rare and unusual stringed instruments, exploring the work of both builders and musicians, 19th century to the present 


This exhibition offers a curatorial platform from the perspective of Dr. Larry Wilburn, former Interim Director of the Museum.  Of particular interest is the Blue Ridge collection from Ferrum College which features “home-made” instruments from counties in Southern and Southwestern Virginia.  There are also examples of recently built instruments, showing new techniques, exotic woods and unusual designs from regional builders.

Also featured are performances by local musicians who will interact with Museum visitors, explaining styles of music and their instruments.  Among those scheduled to appear are Jeff Liverman, luthier and guitarist/singer (September 14), Larry Wilburn, playing classical guitar (September 28) and Kinney Rorrer and friends (October 12).  All performances will be from 2-4 p.m. in the Schoolfield gallery, on the Museum’s lower level.  As a special tribute, Tony Rice, renowned guitarist inducted into the Bluegrass Hall of Fame, will be inducted into the DMFAH’s Hall of Fame, 2 p.m. October 12.

One marvelous aspect with local ties is the Kinney Rorrer collection of artifacts from the string bands popular at the textile mills in the Danville region.  Many of the mill workers relocated their families from the Appalachian and Blue Ridge Mountains, bringing their music and instruments with them.  The collection pays tribute to these musicians who were the forerunners of bluegrass.

Curator: Dr. Larry Wilburn

Curator Bio:

A native of Richmond, Larry Wilburn has lived in Danville with his wife, Joyce, for more than 50 years.  A lifelong educator, he has taught in the Danville Public Schools, as a teaching assistant at UNC-Chapel Hill and at Averett University from 1986 to 2012, when he retired.  In addition to teaching French and Spanish, his administrative assignments at Averett included Registrar, Director of Study Abroad and Associate Dean of Arts and Sciences.  He earned a B.A degree in French from the University of Richmond, M.A. and Ph.D. degrees (French Language and Literature) from UNC-Chapel Hill and, a B.A. degree in Music: Classical Guitar Performance from Averett in 2003.  He has served three-year terms on the Museum Board and the Danville Concert Association Board.  His hobbies include painting classes, playing guitar and bass, reading and travel abroad. 


Special thanks to Ariel Hundley, curator of the Blue Ridge Institute Museum; Kinney Rorrer for his collection of photos and records of mill worker musicians; Jeff Liverman, director of the Floyd Art Center, in Floyd Virginia; Larry Wilburn; Museum staff including Wenn Harold, C.B. Maddox, Annie Chappelle.  We gratefully thank those individuals who loaned their instruments for this exhibit: Gayle Barts, Phil Baughman, Mira Becher, Bonnie Brumfield, Dave Corp, Cesar Guanzon, Hutch Hutcheson, Jeff Liverman, Mark Percario, Kinney Rorrer, Jay Shelton, Tom Townsend, and Joyce Wilburn.

We also thank the Danville Museum exhibition fund donors and the Helen S.  and Charles G. Patterson, Jr. Charitable Foundation Trust.

The Danville Museum of Fines Arts and History is Danville, Virginia’s center for self-expression and stories of the self through the study and creation of fine arts and history.  The Museum’s mission is to promote art and history in the Dan River Region through rotating gallery exhibitions, permanent Civil War and Civil Rights exhibits, local history installations, an events auditorium and a children’s “See & Do” room.  Programs include an annual story-telling festival, concerts, guided tours, an Historical Halloween cemetery tour and other educational and cultural events.  Located on Millionaires Row in Danville, Virginia, the Museum is housed in the historic home of Major William T. Sutherlin.