Bristol, Va.-Tenn. (March 7, 2023) – As archives manager for The Grand Ole Opry, Jen Larson has access to 96 years of the institution’s greatest stories. You’re invited to take a virtual glimpse backstage for a parcel of that rhinestone-studded history with Larson via Zoom at 7 p.m. ET, March 14, as part of the Birthplace of Country Music Museum‘s monthly Speaker Sessions series. The event is free and open to the pubic, but you must pre-register to join.
“We are excited to have this program with Jen Larson taking us on a behind-the-scenes journey into the fascinating country music artifacts and collections that represent nearly a century of legendary programming with the Grand Ole Opry’s iconic roster of artist members, ” said Dr. Rene Rodgers, head curator of the museum. “Being able to bring a diversity of presenters and conversations to share the stories of music and history more widely is an important part of the museum’s mission.”
The Grand Ole Opry archives are comprised of thousands of photographs and live recordings from some of the most significant artists in the history of American music. The archive spans decades and includes photographs, interviews, performances and appearances by both country artists and non-country talent at the height of their careers. Highlights include The Grand Ole Opry, HEE HAW, That Good Ole Nashville Music and many others.
Jen Larson and her archival team play an important role beyond what audiences see on stage at the Opry. Their historical and technical knowledge have helped preserve and restore valuable pieces of the past that have been through two floods and decades of storage. Some of the oldest live broadcast images in the archive are from the National Life building, two decades prior to 1943 when The Grand Ole Opry took to the stage of the Ryman Auditorium. The team also integral in the development of Ken Burns’ epic documentary “Country Music.” In fact, Opry Entertainment was the largest contributor of photos for the epic eight-part,16-hour film.
Larson’s professional experience includes working as a special collections cataloger and archivist for several major New York City institutions including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Parsons the New School, Center for Book Arts, and the New York Transit System. Jen is also a professional bluegrass musician who has performed throughout the United States and abroad and has provided workshops and seminars on the history of bluegrass music and vocal lead and harmony singing. She holds a BFA from Cooper Union and a MSLIS from Pratt Institute.