Country Music History

Museum tour pre- and post-activities, artist biographies, videos, exhibition guides and more

Prepare for Your Visit

Until We Meet Again: Exploring the Lives of Country Music's Greatest Influences
Introduce students in grade 3-6 to the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum through the lives of country music greats Johnny Cash, Ray Charles, Loretta Lynn and more. Before touring the museum, students are invited to engage in this pre-lesson activity where they close-read biographies and collaborate with their peers. After visiting the museum, student groups present their learning and compete in a game of Country Music BINGO.

Pre- & Post-Lesson Overview

Artist Biographies

Country Music Bingo

Artifact Bytes

These two-minute videos allow students to explore social studies, country music artists, and artifacts from the Museum’s extensive collection. Composed largely of primary source multimedia from the Museum’s archives, Artifact Bytes are free and accessible through registration.

Available videos:

  • What is the Country Music Hall of Fame, and who is honored there?
  • Who was DeFord Bailey, and why was he called the “Harmonica Wizard”?
  • Who is Dolly Parton and why is she an important Tennessean?
  • Who is Elvis Presley, and what is his Cadillac limousine?
  • What is the gramophone, and how does it work?
  • What instruments defined early country music, and where did they come from?
  • Who is Minnie Pearl, and what is the Grand Ole Opry?
  • What is “Rocky Top,” and why is it important?

Grade Level: 2 - 8; Select Standards: TN Music Foundations: R1, R2, Cn1, Cn2; TN Social Studies: SSP.01, 3.31, 5.05, 5.51, 5.52; TN Science: 3.ETS2.1, 4.ETS2.3

  • Artifact Bytes

Exhibit-Based Teacher Resources

Outlaws & Armadillos: Country’s Roaring ‘70s

Through the creativity and self-expression of artists like Willie Nelson and Kris Kristofferson, students in grades 3-12 learn about country music’s outlaw movement during the 1970s and explore art, music, video, and nonfiction texts.

Dylan, Cash, and the Nashville Cats: A New Music City

Discover how political, cultural, economic, and social events impact the way songs are written and received by listeners through American music across eras, specifically the 1960s and 1970s work of Johnny Cash and Bob Dylan.

The Bakersfield Sound: Buck Owens, Merle Haggard, and California Country

Examine how the events of the Dust Bowl, Great Depression, and mass migration shaped identity and culture in California and country music.

Loretta Lynn: Blue Kentucky Girl

Meet Loretta Lynn and see how her life as an impoverished child in coal mining Kentucky and as a young mother in the gender-confined 1950s inspired her success as an artist and a songwriter.

Shania Twain: Rock this Country

Learn about how this Canada native overcame a difficult childhood and how talent, determination, and hard work led to her commercial success in the 1990s and influenced contemporary stars like Taylor Swift and Kelsea Ballerini.

Night Train to Nashville: Music City Rhythm & Blues 1945-1970

Details the largely unknown history of Nashville’s significant role in R&B music, exploring how local radio stations, record companies, and live music clubs developed the careers of artists like Little Richard and Jimi Hendrix.

Discover More

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