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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.

December Events at BCM

Bristol, Tenn./Va. (November 27, 2018) – Christmas time in Historic Downtown Bristol is a truly magical experience. From the annual Christmas parade to the beautifully adorned shop windows all decked out for the season, there’s an abundance of hometown warmth and holiday cheer. While the kids are out of school, it’s the perfect opportunity to visit the Birthplace of Country Music Museum and take in 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 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.

Visitors to For All The World To See will also encounter a supplementary display focused on local African American educational history, thanks to the City of Bristol, Tennessee, Bristol, Virginia Public Schools, the Slater School Alumni Association, and the Douglass School Alumni Association. Slater and Douglass Schools were built during the time of segregation as centers for educating African American youth in the region. Some children were bused in from as far away as Saltville and Glade Spring, Virginia to attend Douglass High School in Bristol. Photographs and artifacts from both schools are displayed alongside the special exhibit. Radio Bristol, the in-house radio station that broadcasts from the museum, will also feature 15-20 minute segments during itsOn the Sunny Side program, featuring stories and perspectives from members of our region’s African American community. The station broadcasts in the Bristol area on 100.1 FM, online atListenRadioBristol.org, and through the Radio Bristol mobile app. Finally, an event entitled Community Conversations About Race: A Moderated Panel Discussion will be held at the museum on December 4 at 6:30 p.m. as additional programming For All The World To See.

The Birthplace of Country Music Museum may seem like an unusual place to explore topics like civil rights, but the museum’s temporary exhibition gallery gives us the opportunity to usher in a variety of special exhibits to Southwest Virginia and Northeast Tennessee that may not otherwise reach this region. This exhibition has been made possible through NEH on the Road, a special initiative of the National Endowment for the Humanities. It has been adapted and is being toured by Mid-America Arts AllianceFor All the World to See: Visual Culture and the Struggle for Civil Rights was organized by The Center for Art, Design and Visual Culture, University of Maryland, Baltimore County, in partnership with the National Museum of African American History and Culture, Smithsonian Institution.

The Birthplace of Country Music (BCM) also presents Richmond, Virginia’s Andrew Alli, accompanied by Josh Small, in concert on two separate nights and in two locations. On Friday, December 7, Alli will perform at the museum, and on Saturday, December 8, you’ll find him at The Inn at Wise in Wise, Virginia. Advance tickets to the show are $10; they will be on sale for $15 at the door. To reserve tickets visit the Events page at BirthplaceOfCountryMusic.org.

Monthly Community Jams continue on Saturday, December 15, bringing musicians together for a good, old-fashioned jam session. Community Jams take place the third Saturday of each month in the Learning Center at the museum. These sessions are free and open to the public—all ages and experiences welcome!

Radio Bristol’s popular Farm and Fun Time Christmas Spectacular on December 20 featuring The Church Sisters, Carolina Blue, Sally & George, and house band Bill & the Belles may be sold out, but you don’t need to miss a note! The show will air in its entirety on Radio Bristol’s Facebook Live at 7:00 p.m. EST.

 

Pick Along Summer Camp Registration Open

Kids’ Camp at the Birthplace of Country Music Museum
Makes A Great Gift

Bristol, Va.-Tenn. (November 13, 2018) – It may seem too early to be thinking about summer camp, but for those who like the idea of giving great experiences as gifts during the holidays the timing is just right! Registration for Pick Along Summer Camp classes at the Birthplace of Country Music Museum is now open. Pick Along Summer Camp is great opportunity for parents, grandparents, or aunties and uncles to give the gift a music to a special child in their lives while also giving them an opportunity to “try out” an instrument before committing to lessons.

At Pick Along Summer Camp, kids will receive expert instruction on the same style of acoustic instruments played on the 1927 Bristol Sessions recordings (banjo, guitar, and fiddle). Campers also get to explore the museum, learn about the music of Bristol and our region, receive instruction in singing and dancing, and work on projects with Radio Bristol while making new friends. Campers receive the opportunity to hone their skills as a budding musician while busking in Downtown Bristol and will give a final performance for parents at the museum at the end of the week.

Pick Along Summer Camp is for beginners aged 8-14 and intermediate students aged 10-16. No previous experience playing music is necessary. Half and full day options are available. Class size is limited and fills up quickly.

Pick Along Summer Camp dates are as follows:
June 17-21 (Beginner)
July 8-12 (Beginner)
July 15-19 (Intermediate)
Note: If these classes fill up by March 1, 2019, a second Intermediate camp week will be added for June 24-28.

Pick Along Summer Camp Tuition:

Museum Members
Half-day: $125
Full-day: $175
Non-members
Half-day: $175
Full-day: $225
Discounts are available for families with multiple campers. Parents may also rent instruments from the museum.

REGISTER HERE

New Special Exhibit

A full crowd is seen, pumping their hands to the music, looks of excitement and energy on their faces.
Fans and festivalgoers show high energy at one of the festival stages. © TimCox

New Special Exhibit Highlights
Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion “Through Your Eyes”

Through October 21 at the Birthplace of Country Music Museum

A new special exhibit at the Birthplace of Country Music Museum captures moments at Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion music festival with photographs taken by fans and festivalgoers. Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion Through Your Eyes is a juried exhibit filled with images that show the many sides of the festival.

“This exhibit is truly special because it came out of the creativity and passion of our music-loving community,” said Head Curator René Rodgers. “It has given us the chance to see the festival through the eyes of the people who come to Bristol Rhythm, highlighting their experiences and all that they love about this event. The exhibit is a great way to celebrate the festival and the people who make it into a true ‘reunion’ every year.”

Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion, the annual event that celebrates Bristol’s unique history as the birthplace of country music and home of the legendary 1927 Bristol Sessions recordings, had its beginnings in 2001 with just a few thousand people in attendance. Today the festival has grown to encompass all of Historic Downtown Bristol with more than 45,000 festivalgoers, 20 stages, and more than 100 acts of live music.

The fans and festivalgoers are the people who truly make Bristol Rhythm special, and this juried exhibit features a unique view of the event through the lenses of their cameras. Based on submissions from a community call-out, dozens of photographs were chosen by three professional photographers and brought together into this very special exhibit. The museum also supplemented the exhibit with around a dozen internal images in order to highlight a few of the years and activities not covered by the community photographers.

Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion Through Your Eyes highlights images of musicians, street buskers, festival crowds, and more. Bristol Rhythm will be held September 21-23, 2018, so visitors will be able to stop in and see the special exhibit during the festival. The special exhibit will be on display at the Birthplace of Country Music Museum through October 21, 2018.

 

Vote for BCM!

Birthplace of Country Music Asking for Votes
to Help Win Up to $25K Grant

25 Years of Giving Video Contest from First Tennessee Foundation

The Birthplace of Country Music (BCM) is asking for your help to win up to $25,000 in grant funding. It’s all part of the 25 Years of Giving Video Contest from the First Tennessee Foundation.

“If we are chosen, we will use the grant for educational programming at the Birthplace of Country Music Museum,” said Leah Ross, BCM Executive Director. BCM is the parent nonprofit of the museum, the Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion music festival, and Radio Bristol. “The grant would enable us help schools with the cost of bus transportation to the museum for field trips. It would also help us with costs for Pick Along Summer Camp for kids and to provide curriculum materials for our free Teacher In-Service program.”

The top 30 videos with the most votes will advance to the next level as finalists, and 25 selected winners will receive a grant. Organizations from communities in Florida, North Carolina, Mississippi, South Carolina, Texas, Tennessee, and Virginia will compete for more than $80 million in grants during the 25 Years of Giving Contest.

“Once again, we are asking for help from our community,” Ross added. “They have always been so generous to us, and we are so grateful for that support. We can’t do this without them!”

Online voting begins August 15 and ends August 31, 2018. Go to www.firsttennesseefoundation.com to cast your vote. You will find BCM’s video listed under the state of Virginia. Participants are asked to log in to vote; individuals may vote once daily.

About First Tennessee Foundation

Our company established a private charitable foundation in 1993 to support nonprofit organizations in the communities we serve. We invest in a way that engages our employees, responds inclusively to needs and promotes progress and prosperity across Tennessee. Since its inception, our foundation has donated more than $80 million to meet community needs. The foundation was twice chosen as one of the most outstanding foundations by the Memphis chapter of the National Society of Fundraising Executives for our leadership in philanthropy and community involvement and a certificate of recognition for our outstanding work in the community from the American Bankers Association. The committee was impressed with the foundation’s initiative, creativity and dedication, especially in today’s challenging economic environment.

Free Admission to Active Duty Military at the Museum

Birthplace of Country Music Museum participates in Blue Star Museum Program

The Birthplace of Country Music Museum will participate in the ninth annual Blue Star Museums, a collaboration among the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), Blue Star Families, the Department of Defense, and more than 2,000 museums across America to offer free admission to the nation’s active duty military personnel and their families through Labor Day. The program provides families an opportunity to enjoy the nation’s cultural heritage and learn more about their community, especially after a miliary move. This is the third year the museum has participated in the program.

“Visiting a museum is a great way to get to know a community—whether it’s in your hometown or a stop on a road trip,” said NEA Chairman Jane Chu. “We appreciate the enthusiasm of museums all across the country who open their doors for military and their families to spend time together and have new arts experiences.”

This year’s Blue Star Museums represent not just fine arts museums, but also science museums, history museums, zoos, nature centers, and children’s museums. Museums are welcome to join Blue Star Museums throughout the summer by emailing bluestarmuseums@arts.gov.

“As many military families spend the summer months moving from one duty station to another, or reconnecting with a parent who has returned from deployment, Blue Star Museums helps service members and their families to create memories,” said Blue Star Families Chief Executive Officer Kathy Roth-Douquet. “Blue Star Families has great appreciation for the generosity of the museums across the country who roll out the red carpet for the families who serve alongside their service members. We are thrilled with the continued growth of the program and the unparalleled opportunities it offers.”

A list of participating museums is available at arts.gov/bluestarmuseums.

Community Jams at BCM Museum

Bristol, VA (May 3, 2018) — Calling all musicians! The Birthplace of Country Music Museum will begin hosting a monthly gathering of local musicians for a community jam session starting on Saturday, May 19, 2018. The community jams are open to all ages and all skill levels.

“We are excited to be offering regular community jams at the museum,” says Head Curator René Rodgers. “We hope that inviting the local music community to be part of our museum programming will foster greater engagement between the museum and this audience and give local musicians a wonderful space for sharing their music with each other. These live jams will also offer our museum visitors a fun experience, either as listeners or pickers!”


The jam events have been organized to provide a space for local musicians to gather and pick, collaborate, share their experiences, and—most importantly—to have fun! 


Jams will be scheduled for the third Saturday of each month from 2:00 p.m.-5:00 p.m., serving as a great warm-up for Saturday night gigs. Musicians are asked to bring their own acoustic instruments. The sessions will be held in the Learning Center at the Birthplace of Country Music Museum. 

Click here for more BCM events.

BCM Museum Achieves Awards of Excellence from TAM

The Birthplace of Country Music Museum was honored by the Tennessee Association of Museums (TAM), receiving Excellence Awards for Special Event: The 90th Anniversary of the 1927 Bristol Sessions Symposium and for Website: Listen While I Tell (the Birthplace of Country Music blog)

Tennessee Association of Museums Recognizes Excellence at the 2018 Conference

Nashville, TN    ̶   March 28, 2018   ̶    The Tennessee Association of Museums (TAM) awards recognized outstanding projects and individual achievement at the recent statewide conference in West Tennessee. The awards ceremony took place on March 21 at the Latta Arts Center in Selmer, Tennessee. The TAM Awards of Excellence were presented to statewide museums for exceptional projects and events during 2017.

The purpose of the Excellence Awards is to recognize, encourage, and promote excellence within the activities of the Tennessee museum community.  Nominations are made by museum staff and individuals and sent in January to the regional representative.  Each entry is presented to the TAM Awards Committee which is composed of six regional representatives, three at-large representatives and the committee chair. The committee makes the final judging and decisions of awards. Awards are based on creativity, originality, resourcefulness, success, support of museum mission statement, and utilization of staff and volunteers.

“Each year TAM recognizes the projects and accomplishments achieved at Tennessee museums during the previous year. Regardless of staff size or budget, our museums are doing wonderful things that need to be recognized and applauded.” stated Tori Mason, Historic Site Manager at the Nashville Zoo, who served as this year’s chair of the TAM Awards Committee. She went on to say: “The awards committee was once again impressed with the creativity, resourcefulness and commitment shown in all of the nominations. Our museums are doing amazing things!
“We are very proud of the exhibitions, events and educational programming that our Tennessee museums are producing,” commented Ken Mayes, Deputy Director at the American Museum of Science & Energy, who serves as the current TAM president. “Our state is fortunate to have so many excellent museums and historic sites that are committed to providing exceptional presentations for visitors to enjoy.”

Awards were presented to the following TAM members (categories determined by budget size):

Category 1 – ($50,000 or less)

  • Granville Museum / Historic Granville – 2 Excellence, 1 Commendation
  • Monterey Depot Museum – 2 Commendation
  • Tennessee Walking Horse National Museum – 1 Excellence, 1 Commendation
  • West TN Regional Art Center- 1 Excellence

Category 2 – ($50-200,000)

  • Bradley Academy Museum and Cultural Center / MTSU Public History Program – 2 Excellence
  • Cookeville History Museum – 1 Excellence
  • Greeneville Greene County History Museum – 1 Commendation
  • Heritage Alliance – 1 Excellence
  • Reece Museum – 1 Excellence
  • Tipton County Museum, Veterans Memorial and Nature Center – 4 Excellence, 1 Commendation

 

Category 3 – ($200-500,000)

  • Morton Museum of Collierville History – 2 Excellence, 1 Commendation

Category 4 – $500,000 – $1 Million

  • Great Smoky Mountains Heritage Center – 1 Commendation
  • Patsy Cline Museum – 1 Commendation

Category 5 – $1 Million and above

  • Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage – 1 Excellence
  • Birthplace of Country Music Museum – 2 Excellence
  • Customs House Museum and Cultural Center – 1 Commendation
  • Discovery Center at Murfree Spring – 1 Excellence
  • East Tennessee Historical Society – 3 Excellence
  • Frist Center for the Visual Arts – 3 Excellence
  • McClung Museum of Natural History and Culture – 1 Excellence
  • Memphis Pink Palace Museum – 1 Excellence
  • Tennessee State Museum – 3 Excellence, 2 Commendation
  • Tennessee State Parks –  1 Commendation
  • Adventure Science Center – 7 Excellence, 2 Commendation
  • Metal Museum – 5 Excellence, 5 Commendation

TAM also recognized the following volunteers for outstanding commitment:

Category 1 – Liz Bennett – Historic Granville
Category 2 – Samuel Bowen – Museums of Tusculum, Greeneville
Category 2 – Gwen Dula – Museum of Biblical History, Collierville
Category 3 – Steve Cole – Morton Museum of Collierville History
Category 5 – Youth CR3W at ASC – Adventure Science Center, Nashville

The following individuals were recognized as Emerging Museum Professionals:

West TN:
Nur Abdalla, Memphis Pink Palace Museum
Lori Gipson, Metal Museum, Memphis

Middle TN:
Sharon Osofsky, Tennessee State Museum, Nashville

East TN:
Hannah Rexrode, East Tennessee Historical Society, Knoxville

The President’s Award (Best of Show) was presented to the Cookeville History Museum, for the temporary exhibit, Escape the Cookeville History Museum: An Exhibit for Kids.

About the Tennessee Association of Museums:

Founded in 1960, the Tennessee Association of Museums fosters communication and cooperation between museums, cultural societies, and other members on matters of common interest to all. Our goal is to inform the public on the importance of understanding and preserving Tennessee’s cultural, historical, and scientific heritage. We also encourage publication and dissemination of information on the state’s past as well as the development of professional standards of members who bring that past to the public. The organization is currently comprised of 109 museums and historic sites from across the state.

Call for Entries for New Bristol Rhythm Exhibit

Birthplace of Country Music Calling on Community for Bristol Rhythm Photographs for New Special Exhibit

Juried Exhibit will be on display during Rhythm & Roots Reunion 2018

Bristol, VA-TN (Friday, March 23, 2018) – Later this year the Birthplace of Country Music Museum will host a new special exhibit Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion Through Your Eyes, and it will feature photographs from Bristol Rhythm fans and festivalgoers. The juried exhibit will be created in-house by the museum’s curatorial team, based on photographs taken at any Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion from its beginnings in 2000 to the most recent festival in 2017.

“We are excited to be turning to the Bristol Rhythm community to help us in creating this very special exhibit,” says Birthplace of Country Music Museum Head Curator René Rodgers. “We have thought about doing a community-led exhibit for a while, and after discussion we thought there was no better way to do that than to tap into the viewpoints and enthusiasm of the people who attend the festival each year. We are hoping to get a wide variety of images that really reflect the atmosphere and energy of Bristol Rhythm.”

Photographs can include shots from all aspects of the festival from the performances on stage and buskers on the street to people enjoying the festival atmosphere to the variety of activities on offer such as Children’s Day or jam workshops. All images will be judged by professional photographers Neil Staples, Jay Phyfer, and Billie Wheeler, former Virginia Intermont professors and alumni, all of whom have worked at the festival and other BCM music events. Photographs will be judged and chosen on the basis of quality and content. The chosen images will then be included and credited in the special exhibit on a series of designed panels.

The exhibit is tentatively set to open in the Special Exhibits Gallery of the Birthplace of Country Music Museum on August 11, 2018 and be on display through October 21, 2018.

The museum has created specific guidelines for photograph submissions, and these can be found here or requested via email at info@BirthplaceOfCountryMusic.org or phone at 423-573-1927. Anyone is eligible to enter, regardless of amateur or professional status, residence, or age; however, individuals under the age of 18 will be requested to provide written parental/guardian consent should their work be selected.

Entries to the juried photograph show open on March 22, 2018, and all entries must be submitted by 11:59 PM on April 19.

Registration for Pick Along Summer Camp 2018 Now Open

Bristol, VA (March 6, 2018) — Pick Along Summer Camp is back for another summer of fun and learning at the Birthplace of Country Music Museum! Children aged 8 to 14 are invited to take part in either beginner or intermediate level classes where your child will not only learn about Bristol’s important role in country music history and its lasting influence on the music of today, but they will also learn basic skills on a stringed instrument!

Children ages 8 to 14 will receive expert instruction on the same style of instruments that were used in the 1927 Bristol Sessions recordings, learning how to play music and fundamental skills in various music styles. Campers will also explore the Birthplace of Country Music Museum, learn about the music of Bristol and our region, receive instruction in singing and dancing, get an introduction to our working radio station, and learn about other concepts and disciplines that make up the rich tapestry of country music. At the end of the week, campers will even perform a brief concert for families to show off their skills!

Pick Along Summer Camp schedulE:

Week 1: Beginner
June 18-June 22

Week 2: Intermediate
July 9-July 13

Week 3: Beginner
July 16-July 20

No previous musical experience is required for beginner level Pick Along Summer Camps, only an interest in music and a desire to learn and have fun! These camps are designed for different levels of experience and anyone interested in our music heritage. Whether your camper knows just a little or absolutely nothing, this is the place to be! Students who have their own guitar, banjo, or fiddle may bring their own instruments or instruments can be rented from the museum.

Class size is limited, so register now to reserve space. Half and full day options are available. Half day classes are Monday through Thursday, 9:00 a.m.—Noon and Friday 9:00 a.m.—1:00 p.m. Full day classes are Monday through Thursday, 9:00 a.m.—3:00 p.m. and Friday 9:00 a.m.—1:00 p.m.

There is a 15% discount for students who sign up for multiple weeks. Please inquire about discounts available for families with multiple campers and scholarship opportunities.

The museum’s professionally trained camp staff includes contract and museum staff, along with volunteers. They work together to ensure a fun, safe, and enriching environment for music instruction as well as museum play, theme-related activities and experiments, healthy snacks and friendship-building opportunities for everyone.

CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION AND TO REGISTER