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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
The Museum’s extensive object collection includes nearly 500 musical instruments, more than 1,900 items of stage wear, personal clothing, and accessories, and thousands of other three-dimensional objects—from microphones to automobiles—documenting the history and culture of country music.
Moving Image Collection
The Moving Image Collection contains over 40,000 moving images on a variety of film, video, and digital formats that provide a unique visual history of country music from the 1920s to the present.
Click here to search the museum’s moving image collection on the Digital Archive.
Bob Pinson Recorded Sound Collection
Spanning the history of recorded sound, the Bob Pinson Recorded Sound Collection embraces nearly 250,000 recordings, including live performances, radio broadcasts, interviews, and ninety-eight percent of all pre-World War II country music recordings released commercially.
Click here to search the museum’s recorded sound collection on the Digital Archive.
Printed Materials Collection
The Print Materials Collection comprises 5,000 linear feet and includes over 1,000,000 clippings and media press releases, covering over 4,500 country music performers and music-related topics. Holdings include a large collection of sheet music, periodicals, books, fan club newsletters, and pamphlets, from the 1800s to the present.
Click here to search the museum’s print materials collection on the Digital Archive.
The Photograph Collection contains over 500,000 images related to the history of country music, from the 1920s to the present.
Click here to search the museum’s photograph collection on the Digital Archive.
Oral History Collection
Officially launched in 1974, the museum’s ongoing Oral History Project collects interviews with performers, recording artists, songwriters, and a wide variety of business personnel involved in the country music industry.
Born Digital Collection
The museum launched its born-digital collecting initiative in 2018 to capture and preserve information and communications originating in the digital space. This includes social media posts and programs, blogs, podcasts, and other resources that are not preserved on physical media.
The born digital collection is accessible from the reading room of the museum’s Frist Library and Archives.
Hatch Show Print Collection
Founded in 1879, Hatch Show Print is a letterpress print shop owned and operated by the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. Using its collection of antique wood and metal type and hand-carved imagery, the print shop continues to operate as it has for over 140 years, creating limited-run posters designed and printed in-house.
The Hatch Show Print collection includes the following sub-collections:
- The General Collection contains show posters from the 1940s to the present, used to promote or commemorate concerts and entertainment events
- The Offset Collection represents the period (late 1960s to early 1980s) during which Hatch offered offset printing to complement the letterpress printed posters. The offset work includes handbills and smaller leaflets, printing plates and negatives, fliers, press releases, and fact sheets for many musical artists
- The Petersen Collection contains over 8,000 window cards ranging from the 1950s to the 1970s. Originally owned by Ray Petersen, a former Hatch Show Print employee, the collection comprises posters advertising a variety of events, including personal appearances throughout the United States by Grand Ole Opry entertainers, carnivals, fairs, concerts, movies, plays, local sports, and more
- The Signature Collection features autographed posters from the 2000s
- The Oversize Poster Collection contains large posters, including half-sheets, one-sheets, and pole posters. Many of the dates are unknown, but the earliest poster dates to 1922
- The Business Records Collection, dating back to the 1920s, encompasses the paperwork produced by Hatch to track and maintain a record of their poster orders
Click here to search the Hatch Show Print collection on the Digital Archive.
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.
The Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum honored legendary songwriter Bob McDill in a ceremony celebrating the donation of Mr. McDill’s personal collection to the museum.