Connections Between Work & Music, Virtual Speaker Series Dec. 9 - The Birthplace of Country Music
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Connections Between Work & Music, Virtual Speaker Series Dec. 9

Bristol, Va.-Tenn. (November 23, 2021) – Join us Tuesday, December 7 at 7:00 p.m. for the next Virtual Speaker Series as the curatorial team at the Birthplace of Country Music Museum discusses how music is interwoven throughout the history of America’s workforce. The online event is free and open to the public via Zoom, but pre-registration is required. Visit the Events page at to register.

For this program, museum Head Curator Rene Rodgers, Curatorial Manager Erika Barker, and Digital Media, Programming & Exhibit Logistics Manager Scotty Almany will thoughtfully explore how workers’ anthems and union movement songs have been used by the workforce to propel and signal change, how music tells stories of hard labor and tragedy, and the ways that music can influence workflow and productivity. 

This Virtual Speaker Series is companion programming to The Way We Worked, the current special exhibit at the Birthplace of Country Music Museum from the Smithsonian Traveling Exhibition Service, on display through January 23, 2022. The Way We Worked explores how work became such a central element in American culture by tracing the many changes that affected the workforce and work environments over the past 150 years. The diversity of the American workforce is one of its strengths, providing an opportunity to explore how people of all races and ethnicities identified commonalities and worked to knock down barriers in the professional world. The exhibition shows how we identify with work – as individuals and communities. 

The Birthplace of Country Music Museum, an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution, has created a supplementary display related to work in Bristol and the surrounding region from major manufacturing and resource extraction (e.g. coal, timber) to retail, food services, farming, local industry, and the local newspaper. 

Scotty Almany received his Master’s in Museum Studies from John Hopkins University and has worked at the museum since it opened in 2014. He is also a musician and hosts Scotty’s Tune-Up each Wednesday at 5:00 p.m. on WBCM Radio Bristol, which broadcasts from the museum. Erika Barker earned her Master’s in Historical Administration from Eastern Illinois University and has been with the museum since 2017 and is currently studying Korean. Dr. Rene Rodgers holds a Master’s and Ph.D. from Durham University in the U.K. and was part of the museum’s staff prior to opening as a member of the exhibit content development team.