A! Magazine for the Arts

Construction on Birthplace of Country Music Museum to begin

October 31, 2012

The Birthplace of Country Music announced that fundraising for the Birthplace of Country Music Museum is complete and construction will begin on the former Goodpasture Motors building, on the corners of Moore and Cumberland streets in historic downtown Bristol, Va., the beginning of November. The expected completion date for the project is August 2014, just in time for fans coming to the Twin Cities for the summer race at Bristol Motor Speedway and Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion.

"The Birthplace of Country Music will encompass the museum, Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion, the events we each sponsor and the possibilities we have with our brand," says Birthplace of Country Music Board President John Rainero.

"We not only see this as a great achievement for our organization, but also a great achievement for our region's music, our cultural heritage and our great cities," says Rainero. "Finally, The Bristol Sessions - which Johnny Cash called the single most important event in the history of country music - and its legacy, will have a home."

The Birthplace of Country Music Museum will be a dynamic experience of the senses. Travelling exhibits from the Smithsonian and its affiliates will be shown on a rotating basis in a space designed specifically for this purpose. Permanent exhibits will be largely interactive and designed to appeal to all ages.

Students will have the opportunity to participate in traditional music lessons that will be available in the educational spaces and participate in Smithsonian internships here in Bristol.

A 100-seat performance theatre will allow lectures and seminars to be offered by performers and scholars, and it will provide an unmatched place for live music with the ability to record and broadcast from The Birthplace.

The Birthplace of Country Music Museum will include educational outreach programs designed to demonstrate the relationship between music and faith, family, art, business and technology and expand on its mission to celebrate the region's rich musical heritage.

Once the Birthplace of Country Music Museum is open, The Weldon Cooper Institute at the University of Virginia estimates a five-year economic impact of $49 million to the region. It estimates 75,000 visitors to the museum annually, in turn generating tax revenue for cities and patrons for businesses.

"This trip has taken longer than the two flat tires and the creek fordings that the Carters had to endure on their way to Bristol in 1927," Rainero says. "Sometimes good things happen to those who wait. Bristol, our time is now."