In July of this year my son and I took a classic American car trip to the west, specifically to South Dakota and Wyoming to see sights such as the Badlands and the Black Hills. Most of the well-known attractions in South Dakota are in the western half of the state, so the first thing I wanted to do was find a stopping point that we could reach with one day of driving.
The National Music Museum in Vermillion, SD, in the southeast corner of the state, fit that requirement perfectly. I learned about it when we attended the guitar exhibit at the Eiteljorg Museum in Indianapolis because the the National Music Museum loaned many of the guitars for that exhibit.
It's housed in Vermillion's old Carnegie Library:
They have a huge collection of instruments but as rock fans we were most attracted to the guitars. Here's a Martin that belonged to Elvis. According to the card in the display, he broke the connection point for the strap, and also a string, and tossed it to somebody in the audience.
Here's a Gibson Explorer owned by John Entwistle of The Who:
The collection goes on and on, with instruments made by Martin and Gibson (the actual guys, not just the companies!)
In the lobby is a gigantic Asian drum used for signaling, similar to firing a cannon:
This stop was different from everything else we saw in South Dakota–way more indoorsy!