Museum Archives - The Birthplace of Country Music
Loading station info...

Explore the Legacy of Hatch Show Print with Celene Aubry April 9

BRISTOL, Tenn.-Va.. (March 19, 2024) – The Birthplace of Country Music Museum invites the public to explore the rich heritage and ongoing contributions of Hatch Show Print, one of America’s most iconic letterpress poster and design shops, with Director and Print Shop Manager Celene Aubrey. The event is part of the museum’s Speaker Sessions series and will be held in person at the museum and virtually via YouTube at 7 p.m. ET, April 9. In-person attendees can also enjoy a pre-program, curator-led tour of the museum’s current special exhibit A Cardboard History of Blue Ridge Music at 6:15 p.m., which features several historic Hatch Show Print posters.

Founded in 1879, Hatch Show Print has been an integral part of American visual culture, producing timeless posters and billboards that have advertised everything from country music legends to vaudeville acts. Celene Aubry will guide attendees through the shop’s fascinating journey, highlighting its evolution alongside changes in technology, communication arts, and popular entertainment.

“During this Speaker Session, our guests can also look forward to an exclusive unveiling of a ‘surprise’ poster,” said museum Head Curator Dr. Rene Rodgers. “This is will add an element of excitement to what promises to be an already engaging evening.”

In 2019 Celene Aubry became the first woman in its 100+ year history to run the operations at Hatch Show Print, having joined the staff in 2012 under former Hatch Master Printer Jim Sherraden. While the business thrives under her leadership as a letterpress, expanded programming includes a visiting artist program, a gallery showcasing print-centric art, and hands-on tours and workshops from the education space.

Hatch Show Print is recognized around the world for its 19th and 20th century posters and billboards advertising the stars of country music, rock ‘n’ roll, jazz, carnivals, circuses, and variety shows. This tradition continues today with its limited-edition prints and posters for shows and artists appearing live in the 21st century, as well as prints, cards, gifts and more designed by the shop’s staff who draw inspiration from the vast collection of wood and metal type and hand-carved print blocks created in the shop.

There is no cost to attend monthly Speaker Sessions at the museum, and those who cannot be present in person may view online via WBCM Radio Bristol’s YouTube channel. For more information about monthly Speaker Sessions and other events, visit the Events page at

Learn the Timeless Craft of Letterpress Printing

BRISTOL, Tenn.-Va.. (March 6, 2024) – Immerse yourself in the artistry of vintage letterpress printing at a special workshop coming to the Birthplace of Country Music Museum. The program is in partnership with King University’s Department of Digital Media Art & Design (DMAD) and takes place on March 16, 1 – 3 p.m. ET. The event offers participants a hands-on experience, steeped in the rich history of print making.

“We are very excited for this opportunity to partner with the museum to offer this unique experience to the community,” said King DMAD Assistant Professor Lee Jones. “We are fortunate to have the letterpress here at King University as a valuable resource to demonstrate to students in the Digital Media Art & Design program how the traditional process has influenced the contemporary and vice versa.”

The class will be led by Jones and David Winship, whose father, George “Pat” Winship, started “The Sign of the George” letterpress facility at the university back in the 1970s. David, now retired, learned the ins and outs of the press from his father and now operates it with the support of King DMAD.

“We’ve partnered with King University on a number of programs over the years, but this one is very unique,” said museum Head Curator Dr. Rene Rodgers. “This event is the perfect companion to our special exhibit A Cardboard History of Blue Ridge Music, which participants will also have the opportunity to explore during the program.”

The workshop will feature an exploration of the history of letterpress printing, an opportunity to examine and have hands-on time with key elements of letterpress printing, including block letters, and interactive sessions on a portable letterpress. Each participant will have the chance to print a workshop-themed poster, leaving with a tangible memento of their time in the workshop.

As a special highlight, attendees will also enjoy a guided tour of the museum’s special exhibit, A Cardboard History of Blue Ridge Music, which showcases letterpress-printed concert posters and show cards from a bygone era. Following the 2-hour workshop, participants are invited to join Jones and Winship for a tour of King University’s “The Sign of the George” facility, which houses the institution’s 1920s era Chandler & Price clamshell letterpress. Light refreshments will be provided.

Space for this exclusive workshop is limited to 20 participants, so early registration is encouraged. The cost is $20 (plus tax/fee). To register, visit the Events page at

What’s Cookin’ with Chef T, The Pakalachian March 12

BRISTOL, Tenn.-Va.. (March 5, 2024) – The Birthplace of Country Music Museum is thrilled to announce its upcoming Speaker Sessions event on Tuesday, March 12, 7 p.m. ET, featuring renowned regional chefs Katlin and Mohsin Kazmi of The Pakalachian and Torrece “Chef T” Gregoire of Union 41 in Bristol.

“Chef T and the Kazmi’s offer unique perspectives on creating connections between different food traditions, and their culinary talents showcase the diversity and richness inspired by Appalachian foodways,” said museum Head Curator Dr. Rene Rodgers. “Each of them apply sustainable, farm-to-table practices in their businesses, which is something we should all learn more about.”

Chef T, owner and executive chef at Union 41, shares her journey from her grandmother’s kitchen in St. Vincent and the Grenadines to becoming a celebrated figure in the culinary world. Known for her appearances on Hell’s Kitchen and the Food Network’s Big Restaurant Bet Contestant, Chef T has also written a best-selling book, Paradigm: A Macro Manifesto of Food, which reflects her passion for food as a celebration of life.

Katlin Wohlford Kazmi, executive director of the Region VII Virtual Academy and co-owner of The Pakalachian food truck, brings a wealth of experience in education and entrepreneurship to the discussion. Alongside her is Mohsim Kazmi, an accomplished entrepreneur, conservation photographer, and co-owner of The Pakalachian, has made significant contributions to environmental conservation efforts in Peru.

The event promises an insightful exploration into the fusion of diverse culinary traditions with the rich Appalachian food culture, offering attendees a view into the vibrant culinary landscape of the region. From the delectable offerings of The Pakalachian to the culinary innovation of Chef T, participants will delve into the stories behind these wonderful culinary ventures.

There is no cost to attend monthly Speaker Sessions at the museum, and those who cannot be present in person may view online via WBCM Radio Bristol’s YouTube channel. For more information about the Speaker Series and other events, visit the Events page at

Let’s Duet! Bailey George & Jessica Stiles Country Couples Feb. 13

BRISTOL, Tenn.-Va.. (Feb. 7, 2024) – Love is in the airwaves this Valentine’s season, so be prepared to be swept off your feet! Bailey George and Jessica Stiles, coupled in life and music, will take the stage at the Birthplace of Country Music Museum for a special Speaker Session entitled “You and Me: A Journey Through Country Music’s Rich Duet Tradition.” The event will be held at 7 p.m. ET, Feb. 13, in person and virtually via WBCM Radio Bristol‘s YouTube channel. There is no cost to attend, but pre-registration is encouraged.

From Ira and Charlie Louvin to Johnny and June, get ready as Bailey and Jessica take us on an unforgettable journey through country music’s most iconic duets. You’ll hear tales of love and laughter, from the brother harmonies of the 1930s to the chart-topping romance of the 1970s, intertwined with melodies that have defined generations.

Bailey and Jessica perform together as the duo Bailey George & Jukebox Jess and with the band Bailey George and the Oscillators. You may also catch the duo each week at the Boones Creek Opry concert series, where they emcee and serve as host band.

Bailey George is a musician, historian, and radio personality who became interested in roots music at a young age. He is a collector and performer, chronicling the history of American vernacular music. Bailey also hosts various radio programs across the Southeast, including his weekly program Honky Tonk Hit Parade on WBCM Radio Bristol.

A graduate from Yale University, Jessica Stiles has had a multi-faceted career across many aspects of the music industry. As a musician, she has led her own band to perform at the Country Music Hall of Fame and The Bluebird Cafe. As an engineer and technical consultant, she has worked on Bluegrass Underground and American Masters on PBS. Additionally, she was a broadcast engineer at Nashville’s WSM 650 AM, home of the Grand Ole Opry.

For more information about the Speaker Series and other events, visit the Events page at

Birthplace of Country Music Museum Nominated for USA Today’s 10Best

BRISTOL, Tenn.-Va. (Jan. 16, 2024) – The Birthplace of Country Music Museum (BCMM) in Historic Downtown Bristol, Tenn.-Va, has been nominated for USA Today’s 2024 10Best Readers’ Choice travel awards as a contender for Best Music Museum. The contest gives voters four weeks to vote for their candidate of choice at A person can vote once a day for the run of the contest.

“We are competing with many great music museums across the country,” said Leah Ross, executive director of advancement for the Birthplace of Country Music (BCM), the parent nonprofit of the museum, the annual Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion music festival, and WBCM Radio Bristol, which broadcasts from the museum. “We urge everyone in our community to vote daily and share with their friends on social media to help us reach #1!”

Voting ends Monday, Feb. 12; the winners will be announced on 10Best on Feb. 23 at 12 p.m. EST.

This is not the first time BCMM has been recognized by USA Today. The museum ranked among the top 10 last year, and placed in the top 5 in the 10Best Best Pop Culture Museums two years prior, reaching #1 in 2021. BCMM has achieved dozens of awards over the years, including national and international recognition, which included the Best of the Best from the American Bus Association, the coveted Leadership in History Award from the American Association for State and Local History, and the Highly Commended Award from the British Guild of Travel Writers.

For more information about the museum and the Birthplace of Country Music, visit

“A Cardboard History of Blue Ridge Music” exhibit opens Jan. 16

BRISTOL, Tenn.-Va. (Jan. 11, 2024) – A new special exhibit, “A Cardboard History of Blue Ridge Music” opens at the Birthplace of Country Music Museum in Historic Downtown Bristol, Jan. 16. The exhibit highlights the history of old-time, bluegrass, and country music through vintage concert posters and ephemera that gives visitors a window into the careers and impact of numerous well-known musicians such as Roy Acuff, Kitty Wells, Flatt & Scruggs, The Monroe Brothers, and many more. The exhibit will be on display through July 21.

“This special exhibit is from the vast collection of Tom Murphy, a collector out of Raleigh, North Carolina,” said museum Head Curator Dr. Rene Rodgers. “Anyone interested in early country and bluegrass music and vintage letterpress typography will especially appreciate this exhibit.”

The display features rare, original concert announcements, vintage show cards, and related objects dating back to as early as 1939. By design, the posters were printed on inexpensive paper or cardboard to be discarded after promotion of entertainment events staged by traveling performers.

“It’s really amazing that so many of them survived,” adds Rodgers.

The connection between many of these artists to early radio and barn-dance shows, including WCYB’s original Farm and Fun Time – which now broadcasts on WBCM’s Radio Bristol from the the museum – is also explored.

Murphy began collecting movie posters as a teenager growing up in Montgomery, Ala. For more than 50 years, he has continued to seek out these kinds of ephemera, including broadsides and even billboard-sized advertisements.

Tours of the special exhibit “A Cardboard History of Blue Ridge Music” are included in the price of regular museum admission to the Birthplace of Country Music Museum, or you may visit the special exhibit only at a reduced cost. Reduced museum admission pricing for seniors, students, active military, and groups of 20 people or more are available. Additionally, the museum is a participating member of Museums for All, supporting those receiving food assistance (SNAP) benefits who may tour the museum for a minimal fee of $3 per person for up to four people.

For more information visit

Speaker Session with Black Opry Co-Founder Holly G

BRISTOL, Tenn.-Va.. (Jan. 10, 2024) – “Country music disruptor” and Black Opry co-founder Holly G will join audiences via Zoom for the Birthplace of Country Music Museum‘s Speaker Session, scheduled for Jan. 16 at 7 p.m. ET. The program is in conjunction with the twin cities of Bristol’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration. The public is invited to pre-register to join the conversation at no cost.

“We are thrilled for the opportunity to meet Holly G and learn more about her work advocating for Black artists in country, folk, Americana, and other roots music genres,” said museum Head Curator Dr. Rene Rodgers. “The Black Opry is breaking down color barriers and has quickly become a haven for Black artists, fans, and industry professionals.”

The Black Opry in Nashville stands as a vital sanctuary and platform for Black artists, fans and industry professionals within the country, Americana, folk, and adjacent music genres. Serving as a beacon of inclusivity and cultural representation, it provides a supportive space for musicians who have been historically underrepresented in the industry. With a mission to amplify black voices, the Black Opry operates a touring revue, allowing artists to showcase their talents across the country. Through its commitment to diversity and fostering a sense of community, the Black Opry plays a crucial role in reshaping the narrative of country music and ensuring a more inclusive landscape for Black musicians.

Holly G, a music journalist and artist manager, co-founded Black Opry in 2021 as a website and social media account dedicated to Black country, Americana, and roots music artists. The online forums quickly grew to include the Black Opry Revue, which tours across the country and amplifies Black voices as they work to reclaim their place in the American musical cannon.

For more information on the Black Opry, visit To attend this free Speaker Session with Holly G, interested participants are asked to pre-register online at the Events page at to receive a link to the Zoom meeting.

Virtual Speaker Session Explores the Experience of Women in Country Music

BRISTOL, Tenn.-Va.. (Dec. 7, 2023) – The public is invited to a free and insightful virtual Speaker Session at 7 p.m. ET, Dec. 12 via Zoom with renowned historian and instructor, Dr. McKenzie Isom, as she delves into the intriguing dynamics of women in country music in the 1970s, including Dolly Parton, Loretta Lynn, Tanya Tucker, and Tammy Wynette. This online-only program is brought to you by the folks at the Birthplace of Country Music Museum in Historic Downtown Bristol, Va.-Tenn.

“Dr. Isom’s informative talk is companion programming to our special exhibit I’ve Endured: Women in Old-Time Music, which comes to a close on Dec. 31,” said museum Head Curator Dr. Rene Rodgers. “We encourage everyone to join the conversation via Zoom and visit the museum to take in the exhibit during the holidays.”

Dr. Isom, an instructor of History at Trine University, specializes in 20th century U.S. history, gender studies, and popular culture. Her dissertation, titled “Rustic Roots and Rhinestone Cowboys: Navigating Southern Identity, Authenticity, and Gender in the Long 1970s Country Music Industry” is a nuanced exploration of the challenges faced by female artists within the highly traditional conservative country music landscape of that era.

Despite the ongoing development of the study of country music, Dr. Isom notes a lack of attention to how the industry’s emphasis on authenticity impacted the personal and professional lives of its female artists. The Speaker Session aims to shed light on the restrictive atmosphere and working culture that women in country music regularly struggled against during this pivotal period.

To attend this free, virtual event, interested participants are asked to pre-register online at the Events page at to receive a link to the Zoom meeting.

Folk & Bluegrass Legend Alice Gerrard Leads Master Class in Songwriting Dec. 9-10

BRISTOL, Va. (Nov. 21, 2023) – Songwriters will have the unique opportunity to hone their craft with one of the most iconic figures in folk and bluegrass music, Alice Gerrard, during a two-day workshop at the Birthplace of Country Music Museum Dec. 9-10. The workshop is entitled “Songwriting in the Tradition,” but students are given the freedom to choose the style of song they are interested in writing. Class size is limited.

“Songwriting is personal, and everyone will have different ideas,” said Gerrard. “There are as many different approaches to songwriting as there are songwriters. You are not alone!”

At 89 years of age, Alice Gerrard is a pioneering figure in the realms of folk and bluegrass music. With a career spanning over six decades, Gerrard has left an indelible mark, both as a performer and scholar. She was a central figure in the folk music revival of the 1960s, collaborating with influential artists such as Hazel Dickens and Mike Seeger. Gerrard is celebrated for her mastery of banjo, guitar, and vocals, seamlessly blending traditional Appalachian sounds with her own unique interpretations. A GRAMMY nominated artist, Gerrard was honored with the International Bluegrass Music Association‘s Distinguished Achievement Award in 2001.

The workshop takes place from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. each day. No particular skill level is required, just the desire to write a song or finish one you may have started. Students are encouraged to bring along a rhyming dictionary or thesaurus, notebook, their own instrument, recording devices, and fragments of inspiration, both melodic and lyric.

“This is an opportunity to collaborate with one of the most influential women in the history of folk and bluegrass music,” said museum Head Curator Dr. Rene Rodgers. “Under Gerrard’s guidance, participants will complete an original composition. As an added incentive for younger songwriters, the program will be discounted for high school and college students.”

The cost for adults attending Gerrard’s workshop per person is $150 (+tax/fee). The cost is discounted to $100 (+tax/fee) for high school and college students with the discount code ALICESTUDENT. Visit the Events page at to pre-register.

Author Damean Mathews on Appalachian Folklore Nov. 14

BRISTOL, Tenn.-Va.. (Oct. 30, 2023) – Many of us who were raised around the Appalachian mountains have been told from an early age, “If you hear something calling you from the woods, no you didn’t.” Such warnings and stories of strange goings-on in our hills compelled Damean Mathews to pen the book Tales of the Mysterious and the Macabre: Stories From the Appalachian Foothills. He’ll share some of those myths and legends at the Birthplace of Country Music Museum on Nov. 14, 7 p.m. ET, as part of the museum’s monthly Speaker Sessions Series. There is no cost to attend.

“We are excited to have Damean Mathews here with us in November to share some of the wonderful stories of Appalachian folklore that make living in this part of the world so interesting!” said Dr. Rene Rodgers, head curator at the museum. “Our monthly Speaker Sessions are a great way to learn about our region’s musical and cultural heritage in engaging ways, and this Session is sure to be a favorite.”

A Tazewell, Va. native, Mathews is a writer with a deep love for literature and a strong fascination with the paranormal, particularly ghosts, vampires, werewolves, and monsters. He started writing in high school and was inspired by his first publication in a literary journal. He specializes in the paranormal and teaches about relating global legends to local lore in Southwest Virginia.

Mathews takes pride in his Appalachian culture and explores the region’s mountain lore and legend, incorporating them into his writing. He has independently published several books, including Moonlight and Maverip. He is is also a high school English teacher and enjoys life with his supportive wife in their mountain home.

Those who wish to attend the Speaker Session with Mathews are encouraged to RSVP through the events page at If you are unable to join the gathering in person, you may view the program live on WBCM Radio Bristol’s YouTube page.