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Collections and Resources

The Frist Library and Archive represents more than forty years' worth of collecting country music books, periodicals, photographs, fan club newsletters, scrapbooks, sheet music, songbooks, video and film, oral histories, and sound recordings.

Onsite Reading Room access hours are Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. − 4 p.m, by appointment. Email kcampbell@countrymusichalloffame.org.

COLLECTIONS

Digital Archive

The Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum has in its holdings numerous cataloged photographs, moving images, sound recordings, printed materials, and objects related to the history of country and American folk music.

Moving Image Collection

The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum Moving Image Collection contains over 23,000 moving images on over nine different formats, including 16mm film, digibeta, DVD, and early video. The dates of these materials range from the 1920s to the present, and the collection provides a vast and unique visual history of country music.

Bob Pinson Recorded Sound Collection

Virtually spanning the history of recorded sound, the Bob Pinson Recorded Sound Collection embraces 200,000 recorded cylinders and discs including 98 percent of all pre-World War II country recordings ever made.

Oral History Collection

The Museum's ongoing Oral History Project was officially launched in 1974. Now embracing 666 interviews, the collection contains interviews with performers, recording artists, songwriters, and a wide variety of business personnel involved in the country music industry.

Photograph Collection

The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum has in its holdings numerous cataloged images related to the history of country and American folk music. The dates of these images range from the 1920s to the present.

Objects Collection

The Museum has an extensive, permanent objects collection. This collection includes more than 800 stage costumes, over 600 instruments, and hundreds of other objects—from microphones to automobiles—documenting the history of country music.

Resources

Google Cultural Institute 

Partnering with the Google Cultural Institute, the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum shares its popular 2008–09 exhibition Family Tradition: The Williams Family Legacy. Through rare and previously unavailable images provided by the Hank Williams family, the exhibit examines the ways in which American music continues to be measured by the standards Williams set. It also explores the connections between this revered figure in country music and his creative heirs, biological and cultural.

Since the Google Cultural Institute was launched in 2011, it has worked closely with museums, foundations and other archives, from Carnegie Hall to the Musee D'Orsay in Paris and the British Museum in London. More than 800 partners from over 60 countries make accessible online a total of 6 million artworks, photos, videos, manuscripts, and other documents of art, culture and history, and by doing so, preserve it for future generations.

Instruments in Country Music 

The instruments used to create country music are as varied as the voices that continue to move the genre forward. But certain tools have become synonymous with the country sound—and, in different mixes and with varied prominence—tend to appear on many of the best-known country music recordings.

Explore a few of the instruments that have become key to country music's evolving but roots-rooted sound.

Getty Images

Getty Images has teamed up with the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum to make available for global licensing an unrivaled collection of historic country music images from the Museum’s archives. The Museum’s Elmer Williams Collection has launched the collaboration, with 3,000 images, most previously unpublished. From 1952 to 1962, Williams was one of the busiest country music photographers in Nashville, using his Busch Pressman 4x5 inch camera to capture candid photos at music industry events and backstage at the Grand Ole Opry.

For additional photograph requests, please visit the Museum's Photograph Collection page.

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