May 17, 2001 - January 18, 2038
The Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum's core, permanent exhibit tells the story of country music from its pre-commercial roots in the nineteenth century through its vibrant life today. This exciting, multi-layered experience includes artifacts, photographs, original recordings, archival video, newly produced films, touchscreen interactive media, and beautifully rendered text panels. The exhibit immerses the visitor in the history and sounds of country music, its meanings, and the lives and voices of its honored personalities.
The self-guided tour moves through large subjects such as "Country During the War Years,” while each glass artifact case has a unique theme. Visitors can read about the music and its makers or let the powerful photos, instruments, costumes - and especially the music - tell the story by themselves.
Throughout your journey you are able to see the two-floor, glassed-in central archives where the Museum's vast collection is housed and where Museum staff are seen working with historical artifacts and recordings. This unprecedented view into the core archives is like a window into a shared history and the processes from which the Museum exhibits emerge.
The Museum's second floor gallery, includes more archival video clips and artifacts exploring themes include country's collision with mainstream American culture from roughly 1965 to 1971; the new directions of the l970s including country-rock, pop-country, the rise of southern rock and the renaissance of full-strength classic country; and the 1980s contrast between the fashionable "Urban Cowboy" craze and the enduring values of a new generation of major stars like the Judds, Reba McEntire, Ricky Skaggs and George Strait.
The chronological narrative is punctuated in the second floor gallery's theater with Prime Time: Country Music in the Video Age.
On the other side of the theater, the story resumes with the mid-1980s arrival of young artists like Rosanne Cash, Rodney Crowell, Randy Travis and Dwight Yoakam, and the boom years of the 1990s, when the likes of Garth Brooks, Faith Hill and Alan Jackson ruled the charts and dominated the airwaves.
The story enters the new millennium with exhibit cases and video screens that reflect the face of country music in the years since 200l, focusing on the contributions of hitmakers like Taylor Swift, Carrie Underwood and Keith Urban. Exhibits also celebrate contemporary bluegrass and Americana artists, ranging from Del McCoury to Jim Lauderdale and Buddy Miller.
Jimmie Rodgers with the Carter Family: Maybelle Carter, A.P. Carter, Sara Carter, 1931
Jimmie Rodgers’s Weymann guitar
Fiddlin’ John Carson and Moonshine Kate
Poster promoting Train to San Antone, starring Gene Autry.
Cotton bag for Roy Acuff’s Own Flower, sold in the 1940s. The bag included a Roy Acuff doll that could be cut out, sewn, and stuffed.
Ray Price’s stage jacket created by Nudie the Rodeo Taylor.
Stage costume worn by Gram Parsons and created for him by Nudie the Rodeo Taylor
Stage costume worn by Dwight Yoakam including jacket designed by Manuel
Alan Jackson’s leather suit jacket
The permanent, chronological exhibition has been updated to include brand new artifacts from today’s hottest country artists, including Jason Aldean, Taylor Swift, the Band Perry, Brett Eldredge, Maddie & Tae, David Nail and others. Enjoy the latest chapter in country music’s ever-evolving story through this hands-on immersion into the music of today.
Dinah and Fred Gretsch Family Gallery
This interactive gallery educates and thrills visitors of all ages. Experience country music like never before through a 40-foot guitar, replica tour bus, songwriting stations, recording booth, and dozens of technology-enhanced activities that will leave you “Certified Country.”
The next chapter in music history is being created now. As a popular art form, country music constantly evolves and expands. Those who create the music today—like every generation before them—enliven the genre with new influences and ideas.
At the close of the journey, visitors enter the Hall of Fame Rotunda, the hallowed space where the Country Music Hall of Fame members are honored alongside American master Thomas Hart Benton's famous last painting, The Sources of Country Music.
Sing Me Back Home is just what the title suggests: an exploration of the power of music to make living history and to connect us to our deepest feelings.
This permanent exhibition is included with museum admission and free to museum members.