Museum Archives - The Birthplace of Country Music
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BCM Museum Honored at TAM

Bristol, Tenn./VA (April 6, 2021) -The Birthplace of Country Music  Museum was a recipient of five (5) Tennessee Association of Museums (TAM) awards at the recent TAM conference held virtually last month.  The TAM Awards of Excellence were presented to museums across the state for exceptional projects, programs and events held during 2020. 

The TAM Awards recognize the work and accomplishments of cultural institutions in a number of categories from exhibits and educational programs to social media and publications. Among those given, two awards went to initiatives created in direct response to the pandemic: Museum from Home, the museum’s educational online resources portal, and the Birthplace of Country Music’s Infectious Disease Prevention and Safety Plan.  Tennessee Association of Museums Conference
“Despite being closed for several months during the pandemic last year, our organization kept working,” said Leah Ross, Executive Director of the Birthplace of Country Music (BCM), the parent nonprofit of the museum, the annual Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion music festival, and WBCM Radio Bristol. “We couldn’t have visitors in the museum at that time, so museum staff developed online programming so we could stay connected to the community – and we continue to build on that platform. They also put a lot of planning and time into developing the health and safety protocols needed to open our doors to visitors again and to ensure public confidence. We are very proud of our team and their hard work. Our staff continues to exceed expectations at every turn.”   Below is a list of BCM Awards of Excellence along with categories:

  • Museum from Home Educational Online Resources
    (Educational Programming)
  • Birthplace of Country Music Infectious Disease & Safety Plan
    (Special Recognition)
  • Museum Talk with Rene & Scotty Radio Show
    (Digital Media, Podcast)
  • Volunteer Newsletter
    (Publication/Newsletter)
  • Summer Apostol, Assistant Museum Manager & Volunteer Coordinator
    (Emerging Museum Professional)

TAM awards are voted on by a committee consisting of representatives from museums and institutions across the state and based on whether the nomination fits the organization’s mission; the quality of the program, exhibit, event, promotional campaign, etc.; how it engaged the community and audience; and the project’s impact, both internally and externally. TAM recognizes the projects and accomplishments achieved at museums, historic sites and cultural institutions across the state during the previous year.

For more information about the Tennessee Association of Museums and the TAM Awards, visit TNMuseums.org.

Hard Rock Special Exhibit

Bristol, Va./Tenn. (October 1, 2020) – The Birthplace of Country Music Museum, an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution, and Hard Rock International have partnered up to bring several priceless items from Hard Rock’s vast collection of authentic country music memorabilia to Historic Downtown Bristol for inclusion in a new special exhibit. The items will be on display in this exhibit now through March 28, 2021.

“Hard Rock is proud to share such iconic pieces from our memorabilia collection with the Bristol community,” said Jim Allen, Chairman of Hard Rock International. “Our commitment to preserve music history from the world’s greatest entertainers is part of our company’s DNA since we were founded nearly 50 years ago.”

Hard Rock items highlighted at the museum from classic country stars include costume pieces worn by Loretta Lynn and the Queen of Appalachia herself, Dolly Parton, and well-loved instruments owned by the likes of Roy Acuff, Hank Williams and Waylon Jennings, along with the iconic red-white-and-blue acoustic guitar belonging to Buck Owens. Items by a few modern country artists are also featured in the exhibit, including Garth Brooks and Carrie Underwood. As a tip of the hat to the region, Kenny Chesney’s Takamine G501s acoustic guitar is included in the collection; Chesney is among the first alumni of East Tennessee State University’s Bluegrass, Old-Time, and Country Music Studies program to achieve fame. He also recorded his first demo at Classic Recording Studio in Downtown Bristol.

“It was exciting to get to see some of Hard Rock’s memoriabilia collection up close, and we were thrilled to find several objects that fit in so well with our new special exhibit,” said Dr. René Rodgers, Head Curator at the Birthplace of Country Music Museum. “We are delighted for the opportunity to work with Hard Rock, and we think our museum visitors will enjoy it as much as we do.”

A Selection of Hard Rock’s Country Music Memorabilia is on display as part of Honky Tonk: Portraits of Country Music, 1972-1981, a special exhibit of photographs by filmmaker, educator and author Henry Horenstein. Honky Tonk is a candid, affectionate glimpse into the real country music scene as it was performed and lived—a parade through the early years of future great performers like Dolly Parton and established legends like Mother Maybelle Carter. 

For more information about the collection, museum visiting hours, the special exhibit, and more, visit BirthplaceOfCountryMusic.org. For more information about Hard Rock International, visit Hardrock.com

Honky Tonk Special Exhibit

Bristol, Va./Tenn. (September 29, 2020) – The Birthplace of Country Music Museum in Historic Downtown Bristol, Virginia-Tennessee has unveiled Honky Tonk: Portraits of Country Music, 1972-1981, its latest special exhibit on display through March 28, 2021.

“Henry Horenstein’s images capture performers like Dolly Parton, Doc Watson, Loretta Lynn, and Del McCoury, along with a host of iconic country and bluegrass stars throughout their careers,” said Dr. Rene Rodgers, the museum’s Head Curator. “With this exhibit, he explores the concept of honky tonk through the artists who made the music, the fans who followed them, and the venues that brought them to the stage.”

Honky Tonk is a collection of photographs taken by renowned photographer, filmmaker, teacher, and author Henry Horenstein, who once shot album covers for bluegrass label Rounder Records. Horenstein kept his camera handy in his off-time, capturing images from the honky tonk scene of the 1970s at locations ranging from family music parks and festivals to Nashivlle’s Tootsies Orchid Lounge and the Grand Ole Opry. Horenstein’s lively portraits of the honky tonk community preserve the scene where musicians and fans, cowboys and townies all converged to step out, strum, and strut their stuff.

Horenstein’s work is collected and exhibited internationally, and he has published over 30 books including several monographs of his own work such as Histories, Show, Honky Tonk, Animalia, Humans, Racing Days, Close Relations, and others. He also authored Black & White Photography, Digital Photography, and Beyond Basic Photography, used by hundreds of thousands of learning institutions as textbooks. His Shoot What You Love serves as both a memoir and personal history of photography over the past 50 years.

In recent years Horenstein has been making films: Preacher, Murray, Spoke, Partners, and Blitto Underground, which will premiere in 2021. He is a professor of photography at Rhode Island School of Design and lives in Boston.

A supplementary display related to honky tonk music, including A Selection of Hard Rock’s Country Music Memorabilia and several objects sourced from local collectors and other museums, will be included with the exhibit. Other programming related to the Honky Tonk special exhibit will be introduced at a later date.

Click here for more events at the Birthplace of Country Music Museum.

BCM Earns Healthy Business Certification During Pandemic

Bristol, Va./Tenn. (August 11, 2020) – The Birthplace of Country Music (BCM) has achieved Healthy Business Certification from the Tennessee Chamber of Commerce & Industry, certifying that both its business office and the Birthplace of Country Music Museum has a disease prevention plan in place that meets guidelines set forth by the World Health Organization (WHO), the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), and the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) for workplace health and pandemic response. 

“Our first priority is to provide a safe environment for our visitors, volunteers, and staff,” said BCM Executive Director Leah Ross. “This certification helped us to refine our current guidelines and create a stronger plan that will help us combat illness in the workplace while providing a healthier environment for guests at the museum. Many of these practices will carry on past the pandemic.” 

When BCM was forced to close the Birthplace of Country Music Museum back in March due to COVID-19, the organization immediately went to work developing a health safety plan in preparations for the day of reopening. The state of Virginia gave the green light to reopen the museum in June, and the museum proceeded with full implementation of set plans.

In July the Kingsport Chamber of Commerce hosted the Health Business Certification training provided by the Tennessee Chamber of Commerce & Industry and invited BCM to take part. BCM attended the training, and though the class helped participants with the development of a safety plan, the nonprofit submitted its own, previously written plan. The plan was reviewed and accepted by the state with no further action needed. 

The Healthy Business Certification course helps businesses and organizations become familiar with standards and regulations that OSHA, the CDC, and WHO have set in place to make sure all employees function in a healthy workplace environment. Objectives include understanding the purpose of infectious disease prevention, recognizing potential hazards, identifying key components of an Infectious Disease Plan, and the development and implementation of an Infectious Disease Plan.

“We received tremendous feedback on the operational and safety plans our staff developed earlier this year, and we were thrilled to learn that the guidelines and practices we already had in place met the high standards of certification,” said Ross.

The certification will be up for renewal in July 2021. 

BCM Counting on Heroes and Raffle This Fall

Bristol, Va./Tenn. (August 3, 2020) – The Birthplace of Country Music (BCM) has experienced its share of obstacles during the COVID-19 pandemic. The nonprofit was forced to close the Birthplace of Country Music Museum for nearly three months between March and June at the onset of social distancing, and last month BCM announced the cancellation of its 20th annual Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion music festival, which was originally slated for September. 

“Despite the obstacles and lost income, BCM is determined to come back leaner and stronger as an organization, but we are asking for help,” said BCM Executive Director Leah Ross. “We are determined to stay positive and keep working toward solutions, and that means directing our focus on fundraising.”

The Bristol Sessions Super Raffle and the 2020 Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion Heroes campaign are two ways you can support BCM, and each offers some pretty sweet incentives for pitching in. With the purchase of a $100 Super Raffle ticket, you get two chances to win up to $250,000 in cash and prizes. Only 5,000 tickets will be sold, which increases your chances of walking away with up to $25,000 in cash, a 2020 Toyota Takoma, a 7-Day all-inclusive trip to Jamaica, and much, much more. Most of these big prizes were obtained from local businesses in partnership with BCM, and proceeds will help the Birthplace of Country Music Museum’s recovery efforts. Visit BristolSessionsSuperRaffle.org to purchase tickets and see the long list of impressive prizes. The drawing will be held Sunday, September 13, 2020; ticket holders do not have to be present to win.

The 2020 Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion Heroes campaign is calling on the community to donate $75 or more to the Festival Recovery Fund to help recoup losses from this year’s cancelled event. Donors will be listed as 2020 Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion Heroes on a permanent display in the Birthplace of Country Music Museum, receive a Special Edition 20th anniversary poster signed by the artist, a discount on tickets for 2021, and more. Donations of over $250 will receive all of the above, a one-year membership to the organization’s 1927 Society, and other festival merchandise. All donations are tax-deductible, and 2020 tickets may be “donated” back to BCM to receive incentives. Visit BristolRhythmHero.com for more details.

Every effort is being made to contact ticket purchasers for the cancelled 2020 festival, but it is essential that each buyer fill out the intent form at BristolRhythm.com to let BCM know how they would like to transfer their tickets. New wristbands will need to be issued to those folks for 2021 if they wish to carry them over to next year. The 20th annual Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion music festival has been rescheduled for September 10-12, 2021 in Historic Downtown Bristol, Virginia-Tennessee.

Now that the Birthplace of Country Music Museum has re-opened, BCM is taking every measure to protect the health and safety of guests, volunteers, and staff. Masks are required by everyone in the museum, and guests are issued hand-sanitizer and sterilized styluses for use on the touchscreen exhibits. Heightened cleaning practices and social distancing are also part of the daily routine, with no more than 100 people allowed in the building at one time and tours spaced apart for safety. Visitors are encouraged to purchase tickets online prior to their visit at BirthplaceOfCountryMusic.org.

Additionally, the special exhibit Real Folk: Passing on Trades & Traditions through the Virginia Folklife Apprenticeship Program has been extended through August 30 for anyone who may have missed it. The exhibit explores all forms of Virginia’s expressive culture – from those found in the Appalachian hills and at the Chesapeake shore to new immigrant traditions brought to the state – including letterpress printing, mandolin making, African-American gospel singing, quilting, old-time banjo playing, Mexican folk dancing, classical Iranian and Persian music, country ham curing, and more.

The museum also offers a variety of virtual experiences and resources, including exhibit-focused videos, our Student Activity Center with lots of fun activities for children, Radio Bristol Book Club, the “Listen While I Tell” BCM blog, and more, online at BirthplaceOfCountryMusic.org/bcm-at-home. And on Tuesday, August 18, 3:30-5:00pm the museum will be hosting a virtual volunteer training via Zoom. Those interested in participating in this training should contact volunteercoordinator@birthplaceofcountrymusic.org

Great news for fans of WBCM Radio Bristol’s Farm and Fun Time variety show! BCM has announced that the popular program has been syndicated on UNC-TV Public Media North Carolina and East Tennessee PBS, reaching 100 counties and 13 million households across the state of North Carolina and 30 counties in parts of Tennessee, Virginia, and Kentucky.

“We are thrilled to see Farm and Fun Time expand and reach new audiences,” said Radio Bristol producer and show host Kris Truelsen. “Since the launch of this program five years ago, we had a distant goal of syndicating it. To see that dream become a reality is truly remarkable. So much love and hard work has gone into creating Farm and Fun Time; it feels great to see people respond so positively to what our team has built. We expect more growth and are setting our sights on national syndication.”

Farm and Fun Time joined the programming lineup at Blue Ridge PBS in Roanoke, Virginia back in April. Combined, Farm and Fun Time potentially reaches nearly 20 million viewers in a parts of a five-state coverage area. Farm and Fun Time can still be accessed live online at ListenRadioBristol.org and viewed on the station’s Facebook Live once a month. Check online for local listings in your market; Farm and Fun Time will air on UNC-TV in North Carolina at 9:00 p.m. EST on Saturday evenings. 

Congratulations are also in order for Radio Bristol’s Kris Truelsen on his recent nomination for the Momentum Award for Industry Involvement from the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA), which recognizes both musicians and bluegrass industry professionals who are making significant contributions to or are having a significant influence upon bluegrass music.

Tune in to WBCM’s Radio Bristol Book Club on August 27 at 11:00 a.m. and explore The Little Bookstore of Big Stone Gap: A Memoir of Friendship, Community, and the Uncommon Pleasure of a Good Book by author Wendy Welch.The book chronicles the true-life journey of Welch and her husband amid their escape from a toxic work environment to a struggling mining town where they opened their own bookstore. Customers like Bob the Mad Irishman and The Lady Who Liked Romances stop by the shop looking for the kind of interactive wisdom Kindles don’t spark, and they find friendship, community, and the uncommon pleasure of a good book in good company. The book club discussion will be followed with an interview with the author. The broadcast and archived shows can be accessed at ListenRadioBristol.org
 
For a complete list of events and a comprehensive look at everything the Birthplace of Country Music has to offer, visit BirthplaceOfCountryMusic.org.

ETSU Gospel Choir in Concert at the Museum

Companion Programming for “I Have a Voice” Special Exhibit April 28

Bristol, Tenn./Va. (April 10, 2019) – The Birthplace of Country Music is proud to announce that an ensemble from the East Tennessee State University Gospel Choir will appear in concert at the Birthplace of Country Music Museum on Sunday, April 28, 2019 at 3:30 p.m. in the Performance Theater. The concert is companion programming to I Have A Voice: Tennessee’s African American Musical Heritage, a special exhibit on loan from the Tennessee State Museum; the exhibit will be on display at the Birthplace of Country Music Museum through April 30.

“The I Have a Voice exhibit highlights the many important contributions made by African American Tennesseans’ to American music, and beyond,” says Head Curator Rene Rodgers. “Gospel is one of the genres that has been significantly shaped and strengthened by those contributions. We are thrilled that the ETSU Gospel Choir will be at the museum on the 28th – it is going to be a wonderful opportunity to experience the power and inspiration of that music through their performance.”

The ETSU Gospel Choir was founded in 1975 from humble roots with only 12 members. Today, the choir averages 50 singers and continues to grow with members representing a wide array of nationalities and cultures. The advisor of the choir is Mrs. Laura Terry and is led under the direction of Mr. Jimmy Young. Over the years, the choir has participated in the National Baptist Student Union (BSU) where they have been successful at some point with a first, second and third place finish at this fellowship competition. The main purpose of the choir is to provide a source of inspiration to the community and its members through ministry and praise. This is done at local churches and civic organizations, as well as universities throughout East Tennessee and surrounding areas.

Tickets to the ETSU Gospel Choir performance at the museum are $5; entrance to the I Have a Voice special exhibit is free to ticket holders. Special thanks to Wells Fargo for their support of I Have a Voice and its related programming.

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I Have A Voice Special Exhibit, Curator Talk

I Have a Voice:
Tennessee’s African American Musical Heritage
Now Open

Special Exhibit, Curator Talk at the Birthplace of Country Music Museum

Bristol, Tenn./Va. (February 14, 2019) – The Birthplace of Country Music Museum explores the vast musical influences of African American musicians from across the Volunteer State with a new special exhibit, I Have a Voice: Tennessee’s African American Musical Heritage, open now through April 30, 2019.

“The story of the 1927 Bristol Sessions told in our museum is enhanced by exploring the wider context of music history, and special exhibits and related programming are a great opportunity to highlight that context,” says museum Head Curator Rene Rodgers. “We are excited to have the Tennessee State Museum‘s I Have a Voice exhibit at the museum, giving our visitors a chance to dig deep into the influences and impact of African American musicians within a variety of genres and strands, many of which can be felt in the music of our region.”

I Have a Voice gives a snapshot of African American Tennesseans’ important contribution to American music, including spirituals, blues, ragtime, jazz, gospel, rhythm and blues, rock and roll, and soul music. In turn, their music has influenced and enriched music around the world. From the early blues legends of W. C. Handy and Bessie Smith to the soul hits of STAX Records in Memphis, visitors can learn about various performers, getting the chance to hear the voices and the stories of many of the African American musicians from Tennessee who made their mark on American music and beyond.

As companion programming to this exhibit, Tennessee State Museum curator Rob DeHart will be at the Birthplace of Country Music Museum on Thursday, February 21, 2019 at 6:30 p.m. to explore some of the outstanding artifacts related to Tennessee’s wide-ranging musical heritage. From 19th-century parlor music to bluegrass and blues, come hear the fascinating stories that these objects have to tell! Attendees to this curator talk will also have the opportunity to explore the exhibit before and after DeHart’s talk. This program is free and open to the public; due to limited seating, please reserve your spot online through the Event’s page.

“We are so pleased to be partnering with the Tennessee State Museum to give attendees to this talk the chance to explore the varied musical influences, achievements, and history found in the state of Tennessee –  and it’s a great way to make the connection between objects and the stories they tell,” says Rodgers. “Whatever your musical taste, there’s probably a story for you!”

Rob DeHart is a curator at the Tennessee State Museum, where he focuses on cultural history and science and technology with a special emphasis on the Antebellum South. A graduate of the public history master’s program at Middle Tennessee State University, he worked in collections and programming at various small history museums before arriving at the State Museum in 2010. His exhibitions have won regional and national awards, and he currently serves as a peer reviewer for the American Alliance of Museums (AAM). Rob’s musical background includes playing double-bass as an extra with the Nashville Symphony and playing guitar with a swing band on Printer’s Alley.

I Have a Voice: Tennessee’s African American Musical Heritage, on display in the museum’s Learning Center, has been created and is being traveled by the Tennessee State Museum.

Reading Appalachia Special Exhibit

Vintage colorized photograph of four children

Reading Appalachia: Voices From Children’s Literature Opens at the Birthplace of Country Music Museum
Special Exhibit Open Through June 30

Bristol, Tenn./Va. (February 1, 2019) – Take a walk through your favorite Appalachian storybooks with Reading Appalachia: Voices from Children’s Literature, a special exhibit now open at the Birthplace of Country Music Museum through June 30, 2019.

Sporting life-size characters from Appalachian children’s books, this exhibit looks at the seminal titles from the late 1800s through the modern story of Appalachia – you’ll feel like you’re walking through the pages of a storybook. Children can stand eye-to-eye with characters from Journey Cake Ho, A Mountain Rose, When Otter Tricked the Rabbit, When I Was Young, and others.

“We are excited to be sharing Reading Appalachia with our community,” says the museum’s Head Curator Rene Rodgers. “It’s a wonderful exhibit to experience with your family or student groups, and with its focus on childhood favorites and timeless stories, it will be a nostalgic treat for anyone who loves books and reading.”

The exhibit also includes representative children’s toys from the area, and the panels provide a host of discussion topics and hands-on activities for families, children and kids of all ages. Children are encouraged to try on masks of storybook characters and find themselves in a story. They can create their own story of a childhood set in Appalachia and hear the voice of old-time storyteller Ray Hicks along with some of their favorite authors and illustrators. Each panel includes an interpretation of the text from a child’s perspective. Several of the books featured in the exhibit will be available for reading in the exhibit’s “Story Corner.”

All are invited to walk into the pages of a story of childhood in Appalachia!

Reading Appalachia was organized by the East Tennessee Historical Society and the Knox County Public Library; it is made possible through the generous support of Clayton Homes, the Jane L. Pettway Foundation, Friends of the Knox County Public Library, and the University of Tennessee’s Center for Children’s and Young Adult Literature.

The exhibit will be on display in the museum’s Special Exhibits Gallery from February 1 to June 30, 2019. It will be complemented by a variety of engaging public programs such as a literacy program for toddlers, poetry and journaling events, and much more! It will also serve as a wonderful educational resource for school groups and educators.

Audience Participation Time at The Birthplace of Country Music Museum

Community Jam, Square Dancing Jan. 19

Bristol, Tenn./Va. (January 7, 2019) – It’s audience participation time at the Birthplace of Country Music Museum, so grab your partner—or an instrument—and head to Historic Downtown Bristol on Saturday, January 19 for two fun events that will put smiles on your faces and get your toes-a-tappin’! Both events are for all ages and skill levels and cost nothing but your time—and it’s time well spent!

Musicians are invited to meet up every third Saturday of the month from 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. in the Learning Center at the museum for a full-on Community Jam session. It’s an opportunity to hone your skills and network with other musicians in the region, and maybe learn some new tunes! Members of the community who just want to be there as spectators are also welcome to attend. The next jam session lands on January 19.

“We want to stress that Community Jams are for everyone, no matter what your skill level or age may be,” said Dr. Rene Rodgers, Head Curator at the Birthplace of Country Music Museum. “For instance, students from our Pick Along Summer Camp classes have been attending, and it’s a wonderful way for them to learn from more experienced musicians in a performance setting. We’d like to encourage more young and budding musicians to take part.”

Later that evening, the museum will host an old-fashioned Square Dance in the Special Exhibits Gallery. The Square Dance is from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. and will be led by expert caller Tyler Hughes. The music will be lively, and the activity itself may replace your workout for the day!

“We held a Square Dance with Tyler last year at the museum when we were between special exhibits,” Rodgers adds. “It was so much fun that participants have been asking when we would host another. This is an event that members of your whole family can enjoy – and a great way to make wonderful memories together!”

Just like the Community Jam, the Square Dance doesn’t require any previous experience, nor does it require a partner. Participants are asked to wear comfortable, sturdy dancing shoes – no heels, please!

Though both events are free and open to all ages and skill levels, due to limited space, anyone wishing to attend the Square Dance should RSVP through the Events page.

January Events at the Museum

Community Jam, Square Dance, and More!

Bristol, Tenn./Va. (January 4, 2019) – The New Year is shaping up to be an exciting one for theBirthplace of Country Music (BCM), parent nonprofit organization of the Birthplace of Country Music Museum, the annual Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion music festival, and WBCM Radio Bristol. Located in Historic Downtown Bristol, Virginia-Tennessee, BCM famously pays homage to the seminal 1927 Bristol Sessions recordings through each of its divisions and with exciting educational and community events year-round.

The Birthplace of Country Music Museum is in its final days of For All The World To See: Visual Culture and the Struggle for Civil Rightsa nationally touring exhibition from NEH on the Road. For All The World To See examines the role that visual culture played in shaping and transforming the struggle for racial equality in America from the late 1940s to the mid-1970s through a compelling assortment of photographs, television clips, art posters, and historic artifacts. It also traces how images and media disseminated to the American public transformed the modern Civil Rights movement and jolted Americans, both black and white, out of a state of denial or complacency. The museum will be open on Monday, January 7 to give visitors one last opportunity to take in this evocative special exhibit on its final day.

Note that content of For All the World to See addresses a wide range of issues and includes some images that may be too sensitive for very young children.

On January 8 the Arts Alliance Mountain Empire brings its speaker series to the Performance Theater at the Birthplace of Country Music Museum for Side Effects May Include…, a funny and poignant one-man play starring Nick Koesters. The play examines one family’s struggles with Parkinson’s Disease. The show is free and open to the public, but not appropriate for children. The show starts at 7:00 p.m. and donations will be accepted to benefit the Michael J. Fox Foundation.

Radio Bristol’s popular Farm and Fun Time variety show returns to the museum January 10 for the special program “A Celebration of Appalachian Balladry,” highlighting music and artists who performed on the album Big Bend Killing. Amythyst Kiah, Elizabeth LaPrelle, John Lilly, the ETSU Old Time Ramblers, and house band Bill and the Belles will perform. Farm and Fun Time is nearly sold out, but you don’t have to miss a note if you don’t have a ticket! The show will air on thestation’s Facebook Live at 7:00 p.m. EST. Viewers are encouraged to join the live chat and let everyone know where they are watching from!

The Birthplace of Country Music Museum will host two exciting community events on Saturday, January 19 that also require audience participation: the monthly Community Jam at 2:00 p.m. EST and a Square Dance at 7:00 p.m. EST! Both events are free and open to all ages and skill levels, but the museum asks for participants in the Square Dance to reserve a spot online as space is limited.

Looking ahead to February, two special exhibits will open at the Birthplace of Country Music Museum. Reading Appalachia: Voices from Children’s Literature will open on February 1; the exhibit features life-size characters from Appalachian children’s books and explores a range of themes in literature. On February 14 I Have a Voice: Tennessee’s African American Musical Heritage will also take residence; this special exhibit takes a look at the Volunteer State’s influential hit makers from a wide range of genres.

In August of this year, the Birthplace of Country Music Museum, an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution, will celebrate its fifth year of operation – 92 years after the 1927 Bristol Sessions recordings created what many now refer to as the “big bang” of country music. The award-winning museum tells the fascinating story of the Sessions’ vast influence though a number of engaging film experiences, interactive exhibits, and so much more. Look for events surrounding the anniversary in the months to come!

For a complete list of events and a comprehensive look at everything the Birthplace of Country Music has to offer, click here.