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.