Country music’s origins are deeply rooted in the state of Tennessee. The genre achieved national and international appeal as a result of performances recorded in the state from the early to mid-twentieth century, and since that time, country music has become one of Tennessee’s greatest and most visible export.
Recognizing the power and significance of this art form, the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum leads through its mission of collecting, preserving and interpreting the evolving history and traditions of country music, while being a museum field innovator in educational programs, exhibitions, preservation efforts, audience development, and innovative business practices. Since setting out on that mission more than 52 years ago, the museum has become one of the most visited and most loved museums in America, welcoming more than 1.2 million visitors annually.
The museum opened its doors on April 1, 1967, at the head of Nashville’s historic Music Row. Due to increasing popularity and the growth of its collections, the museum moved to a 140,000-square-foot facility in downtown Nashville’s South Broadway area in May 2001. In 2014, the museum doubled its footprint as the result of a 210,000 square-foot expansion and an $87.5 million capital campaign.
A proud member of Tennessee’s nonprofit arts and culture industry, the museum generated an economic impact of more than $76 million in 2018 according to the Americans for the Arts’ Arts & Economic Prosperity 5 Calculator. Additionally, 2,202 full-time equivalent jobs were supported by the museum and its audiences, and $7.8 million in revenue was generated for local and state government last year.
A custodian and interpreter of the vital records of country music history, the museum’s more than two-million-item collection represents a vast accumulation of human experience, including the lives of the music’s creators, marketers, critics and listeners through the turns of the 20th and 21st centuries, providing the foundation for the museum’s educational mission.
The museum safeguards an unparalleled collection of sound and video recordings, photographs, print materials, books, documents, manuscripts, and three-dimensional artifacts. With the aim of long-term preservation and wide content dissemination, the museum’s Digital Archive provides people from all over the country and the world access to its vast collection.
Education and community programs are a central expression of the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum’s mission. In 2018, the museum served nearly 100,000 learners of all ages through more than 1,200 unique programs.
As a global arts organization and an engaged citizen, the museum is not only dedicated to its mission-based work but how this work is implemented across all lines of operation. Specific to reducing the museum’s impact on the planet, award-winning sustainability programs are in place to divert trash from landfills. In 2018, the institution’s environmental stewardship was recognized with the Sustainability Excellence Award from the American Alliance of Museums; the Governor’s Environmental Stewardship Award for Excellence in Materials Management from the State of Tennessee; and the Piedmont Natural Gas Excellence in Sustainable Practices Award.
Through its strong vision of leadership and mission-driven work, the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum is preserving the stories of the past while diligently sharing country music’s beauty with audiences across the globe.