A! Magazine for the Arts

Birthplace of County Music Museum wins award

June 21, 2016

The American Association for State and Local History announces that the Birthplace of Country Music Museum, Bristol, Virginia, is the recipient of an Award of Merit for its permanent exhibits on the history and legacy of the 1927 Bristol Sessions. The AASLH Leadership in History Awards, now in its 71st year, is the most prestigious recognition for achievement in the preservation and interpretation of state and local history.

The Birthplace of Country Music Museum, a Smithsonian affiliate, opened in August 2014. The museum's permanent exhibits – through text and artifacts, interactive components and multiple film experiences – tell the story of the 1927 Bristol Sessions recordings, explore how evolving sound technology shaped their success, and highlight how this rich musical heritage lives on in today's music. The Bristol Sessions, the first recordings of The Carter Family and Jimmie Rodgers, along with other early country artists, set the stage for the later commercial country music industry.

The permanent exhibits, along with complementary programming, have been instrumental to the museum's mission. The exhibits delight and inspire visitors, many of whom have related their strong emotional responses to the content, and the museum has become a significant community resource. By highlighting a story that, until recently, has not been well known outside of academic circles and music fans, and exploring the related history, technology, and lasting impact, the Birthplace of Country Music Museum has taken this music heritage beyond the local community to national and international audiences.

This year, AASLH confers 63 national awards honoring people, projects, exhibits and publications. The winners represent the best in the field and provide leadership for the future of state and local history. Presentation of the awards will be made at a special banquet during the 2016 AASLH/MMA Annual Meeting in Detroit, Michigan, on Friday, Sept. 16. The banquet is supported by a generous contribution from the History Channel.

The AASLH awards program was initiated in 1945 to establish and encourage standards of excellence in the collection, preservation, and interpretation of state and local history throughout the United States. The AASLH Leadership in History Awards not only honors significant achievement in the field of state and local history, but also brings public recognition of the opportunities for small and large organizations, institutions, and programs to make contributions in this arena. For more information about the Leadership in History Awards, contact AASLH at 615-320-3203, or go to www.aaslh.org.

The American Association for State and Local History is a not-for-profit professional organization of individuals and institutions working to preserve and promote history. From its headquarters in Nashville, Tennessee, AASLH provides leadership, service and support for its members who preserve and interpret state and local history in order to make the past more meaningful in American society. AASLH publishes books, technical publications, a quarterly magazine, a monthly newsletter, and maintains numerous affinity groups and committees serving a broad range of constituents across the historical community. The association also sponsors regional and national training workshops and an annual meeting.