BCM’s Educational Resources
Our BCM staff aims to deepen the museum experience for visitors of all ages and levels of interest. We provide hands-on experiences and create dynamic and educational field trips for school groups. We also provide a wide assortment of events such as films, workshops, and lectures geared toward an adult audience as well as games, crafts, and learning activities for kids and families. We work hard to enhance the visitor experience and connect the museum to our community in an ongoing and meaningful way.
Download our latest Educator Newsletter here.
We offer interesting and engaging field trips to K-12 and college students. Our student tours usually include an orientation film about the Bristol Sessions, an introduction to the permanent exhibits, a scavenger hunt activity, and free exploration time. We recommend spending at least 1 ½–2 hours in the museum to provide your group with enough time for their tour and related activities, along with the possibility of taking part in other learning programs. For instance, we can include a variety of educational and fun activities such as hands-on instrument time, Banjo Bingo or Name that Instrument, special exhibit tours, and other lessons that suit your needs.
Teachers can choose among three field trip options–Music, History, and Technology–in order to best match the experience to their curriculum. All tours contain fundamental information about the 1927 Bristol Sessions recordings, the basis of the Birthplace of Country Music Museum.
Our tours, activities, and scavenger hunts can be geared toward elementary, middle, or high school levels. College-level tours and programs are also available. To schedule your school field trip with us, contact us at 423-573-1927 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
K-12 Tour Rates
Field Trip Options
Starting with early “hillbilly” recordings of the 1920s, this tour focuses on the musicianship of the Bristol Sessions, how those recordings influenced and impacted country and other forms of music, and how those musical styles continue to flourish and expand today.
Beginning with the founding of Bristol in the 1850s and its development into a thriving economic and cultural center in the early 1900s, this tour explores interesting local history from Bristol and the region, Bristol’s role in early commercial country music history, and information about the historic building that houses the museum.
Highlighting the early 20th-century recording technology that played a major role in the success of the 1927 Bristol Sessions, this tour explores developments in recording and sound technology, and how technology has continued to influence country music in various ways.
Educational Programs & Resources
The Birthplace of Country Music Museum offers a variety of educational experiences and activities. Along with our on-site tours described above (delivered within COVID-related health and safety parameters), we have several virtual options for schools and homeschool groups, along with a host of learning resources. Our virtual student experiences are currently FREE, though donations are appreciated – any donation will support further museum educational programming and to create engaging educational resources for our community.
Virtual Museum and Exhibit Tours
We understand that on-site museum tours are not always possible, but your students can still experience the museum!
Two of our student-tour add-on activities – the History of Listening lesson and Banjo Bingo/Name that Instrument game – can be offered as a virtual program or as part of an in-school outreach program. The lesson explores the “history of listening” from music’s beginnings as live and participatory community performances to the later development of different technologies that helped make music accessible to audiences in different ways. We include examples of some of these technologies, along with playing music on them and sharing other related STEAM concepts. The Banjo Bingo/Name that Instrument game gives students a chance to listen to and identify different types of musical instruments and learn about them.
Cost (tour activity/virtual): Free; Cost (outreach program): Please inquire
Online Virtual Tour
We created several virtual tour videos about our 2020 special exhibit, Real Folk: Passing on Trades & Traditions through the Virginia Folklife Apprenticeship Program, all of which are available online.
“Museum from Home”
Check out the website’s “Museum from Home” section, which outlines other useful BCM resources such as our blog, Radio Bristol, recorded performances, Smithsonian learning resources, etc.
Museum Content on Radio
There are two Radio Bristol shows directly tied to the museum: Radio Bristol Book Club, a monthly show done in partnership with the Bristol Public Library and featuring reader discussions of books focused on museum content, music heritage, and Appalachian culture and stories, along with author interviews, and Museum Talk with René & Scotty, a show that explores the work of museums and other cultural institutions throughout the United States and beyond.
Museum Content on Video
We have several short educational videos about museum content, which can be found on our YouTube channel. There are also two longer videos: one that introduces the 1927 Bristol Sessions and why they are important (around 10 minutes) and another about Black contributions to early country music (around 20 minutes).
In-Class Educational Kit
In late 2018, we hosted the special exhibit For All the World to See: Visual Culture and the Struggle for Civil Rights. We have a For All the World to See education kit, which is available to be borrowed by teachers for use in their classroom. It includes several activities, objects, and lessons that explore the intersection of civil rights and visual culture.
In-Class Educational Poster Sets
The Birthplace of Country Music Museum has three poster sets that are available to be borrowed by teachers for use in their classroom or for school displays.
- A Place for All People is a historic poster exhibit created for the opening of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) in September 2016. This framed poster set – based on NMAAHC’s inaugural exhibitions exploring themes from slavery and the civil rights movement to community, cultural expression and sports – explores the long struggle to create the Museum and the African American community’s powerful, deep and lasting contributions to the American story.
- Votes for Women: A Portrait of Persistence celebrates the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment and explores the complexity of the women’s suffrage movement and the relevance of this history to Americans’ lives today. This framed poster was produced by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service in collaboration with the National Portrait Gallery.
- To Make Our Voices Heard: Tennessee Women’s Fight for the Vote, a poster exhibit created by the Tennessee State Museum and the Tennessee State Library and Archives, explores the history of the women’s suffrage movement, Tennessee’s dramatic vote to ratify the 19th Amendment in 1920, and the years that followed.
Student Activity Center
Our student activity sheets are a great way to engage your kids or students in fun and educational learning! You can find a variety of sheets related to 1927 Bristol Sessions artists, technology, musical instruments, and history, along with a couple of craft and learning videos. We will continue to add sheets and activities to this center so keep an eye on it for new resources.