Bristol, Tenn.-Va. (June 10, 2020) – The Birthplace of Country Music Museum, a Smithsonian Affiliate located in Historic Downtown Bristol, Virginia-Tennessee, has announced plans for reopening its doors on Thursday, June 11, following a months-long closure due to the threat of COVID-19. In addition, the Birthplace of Country Music (BCM), the parent nonprofit organization of the museum, the annual Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion music festival, and WBCM Radio Bristol, will launch its second annual Bristol Sessions Super Raffle to help ease the financial burden placed on the organization since the museum’s closure.
“The museum has been closed since March 16 so we are glad to see this day come,” said BCM Executive Director Leah Ross. “Through it all we are very fortunate that we were able to keep our entire staff in place, most of them working from home. We worked hard to keep the public engaged online during the quarantine, but like many attractions we have lost income from museum visitation and ticketed events. We are thrilled to be able to welcome visitors to the museum again – with enhanced safety guidelines in place.”
Free museum admission will be offered to healthcare workers and one guest of their choice through August 30, 2020 as a “thank you” for their service to the community during the COVID-19 health crisis.
A list of safety protocols, in accordance with guidelines issued by the state of Virginia, include:
- Visitors, staff, and volunteers must wear face masks.
- Only 100 people will be allowed in the museum at one time.
- Health checks of museum staff will be provided daily prior to each shift.
- Hand sanitizer will be issued to patrons.
- Gloves will be worn by staff and volunteers at all times.
- Social distancing guidelines will be followed and enforced.
- Styluses will be issued to guests for use on all interactive touch screens.
- Cleaning of exhibits and other areas will be performed every two hours.
- Traffic flow will be monitored at all times in order to maintain social distancing.
Visitors are encouraged to purchase tickets online prior to their visit, but tickets may also be purchased at the front desk. Guests will be asked to provide their names and email addresses for the purpose of contact tracing. If you have a fever or may be exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19, or have been exposed to someone with symptoms within a two-week period, please plan to reschedule your visit for another date.
Plans to hold concerts in the museum’s “acoustically perfect” Performance Theater are still being evaluated.
“We want our visitors to know their health and safety is of the highest priority to us so they can enjoy their experience with less worry,” said Dr. Rene Rodgers, Head Curator at the museum.
Re-opening the museum is an important step in helping the nonprofit get back on its feet after the closure.
“Fundraising and development, especially during times of crisis, are crucial to our organization,” said Ross. “With loss of revenue from the museum closure and the added uncertainty of live, ticketed events, we need our next raffle event to be a success.”
The Bristol Sessions Super Raffle proved to be a major fundraiser for BCM last year as winners walked away with more than $250,000 in cash and big-ticket prizes. This year’s Raffle will do the same, and tickets are on sale now for $100 each. Each ticket gives participants two chances to win items such as a 2020 Ford Mustang, a 2020 Toyota Tacoma SR 4×4, an all-inclusive 7-day vacation to a Sandals Resort in Jamaica for two, and much, much more. The drawing will be held on Sunday, September 13 from noon until 4:00 p.m. Participants do not have to be present to win. Tickets can be purchased at BristolSessionsSuperRaffle.org.