The Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum is operated by the non-profit, educational Country Music Foundation (CMF). The mission of the Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum is to identify and preserve the evolving history and traditions of country music and to educate its audiences. Functioning as a local history museum and as an international arts organization, the Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum serves visiting and non-visiting audiences including fans, students, scholars, members of the music industry.
Introduction to the Museum
The Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum has been the home of America's music since 1967. In keeping with the cultural significance of the music and the heroic achievements of those who form its membership, the Museum opened in a $37 million landmark, new building in May 2001.
Located on the west bank of the Cumberland River, just a few steps from the historic Ryman Auditorium and the honky-tonks of Lower Broadway, the monumental edifice, a visceral experience for approaching visitors, invigorates the skyline in downtown Nashville's entertainment district.
Inside, the Museum presents the crown jewels of its vast collection to illustrate country music's story as told through the turns of two centuries. A treasure trove of historic country video clips and recorded music, dynamic exhibits and state-of-the-art design, regular menu of live performances and public programs, Museum Store, on-site dining, and fabulous public spaces all contribute to an unforgettable museum experience.
The Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums, certifying that the Museum operates according to the highest standards, manages its collection, and provides quality service to the public. Of the 8,000 museums nationwide, only some 750 are accredited.
"Country music is still devoted to the lyric and to the telling of stories, which people love and people need. Country music artists took what they heard around them, material that was in the air and that was common currency, and they made something entirely new. This is a museum that preserves their memory so that they can continue to inspire creators in the future. It's also a museum that honors the people who their music was made for. Those people are all of us, people who've ever been lost or confused or sad or felt excluded. This museum helps to preserve these tributes to our condition."
- Garrison Keillor
A Brief History
In 1961 the Country Music Association (CMA) announced the creation of the Country Music Hall of Fame and chose its first three inductees—Jimmie Rodgers, Hank Williams, and Fred Rose. These first three members were announced in November at a CMA banquet held in conjunction with WSM-radio's tenth annual disc jockey convention. The Hall of Fame members' plaques, with facial likenesses and thumbnail biographies cast in bas-relief, were unveiled on the Grand Ole Opry by Ernest Tubb. Until 1967, these plaques and those for subsequent Hall of Fame inductees were displayed in the Tennessee State Museum in downtown Nashville.
In 1963 the CMA announced plans for a Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum to be built on Music Row in Nashville. That same year the state of Tennessee chartered the Country Music Foundation®, Inc. (CMF) as a non-profit, educational organization charged with operating the Museum.
The original Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum opened on Music Row (Sixteenth Avenue and Division Street) on April 1, 1967, and closed December 31, 2000. During these years of rapid growth and expansion the Museum's operations came to also include educational programs, CMF Press and CMF Records, the Country Music Foundation Library (1968), and the historic sites RCA Studio B (1977) and Hatch Show Print (1986).
The new Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum celebrated its grand opening on May 17, 2001. The new facility features the Hall of Fame Rotunda, where the bronze plaques are displayed for future generations to honor and enjoy.