History and first museum
In 1961, the CMA announced the creation of the Country Music Hall of Fame. The first three inductees, Jimmie Rodgers, Fred Rose and Hank Williams, were announced at a CMA banquet in November. Bronze plaques, with the facial likeness and a thumbnail biography of each new member, were cast in bas relief. They were unveiled on the Grand Ole Opry by Ernest Tubb. These plaques, and those for subsequent Hall of Fame inductees, were displayed in the Tennessee State Museum in Nashville until 1967.
In 1963, the CMA announced that a Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum was to be built on Music Row in Nashville. In that same year, Tennessee chartered the Country Music Foundation (CMF) as a nonprofit, educational organization to operate the museum.
The original Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum opened on Music Row (Music Square East and Division Street) on April 1, 1967. Operations of the museum came to include educational programs, the CMF Press and CMF Records, the Country Music Foundation Library (1968), and the historic sites RCA Studio B (1977) and Hatch Show Print (1986). The Music Row location of the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum was closed December 31, 2000. The building was later razed and a private parking lot for employees of music licensing firm BMI now occupies the site. Before they went on to become major stars in the country music recording industry, Kathy Mattea and Trisha Yearwood worked as tour guides at the Music Row museum.
On May 17, 2001, the CMF held the grand opening of its new $37,000,000 facility ten blocks away in downtown Nashville. Inside, the museum presents its collection to illustrate country music's story as told through the turns of two centuries. Included are historic country video clips and recorded music, as well as a regular menu of live performances and public programs, a museum store, and on-site dining.
Inspired by renowned architect Ron Elsensohn, the new building's exterior is laced with symbolic images of music. The most obvious are the windows that mirror the configuration of piano keys. More conspicuous images include the diamond-shaped radio mast, which is a miniaturized replica of the WSM tower located a few miles south of Nashville. The round discs surrounding the tower symbolize the different size records and CDs used to record country music. When viewed from the air , the building is in the shape of a bass clef. The northwest corner of the building juts out like the tail fin of a 1950s Cadillac. The Country Music Hall of Fame was erected by local architectural firm Tuck-Hinton Architects with oversight from the museum's design firm Ralph Appelbaum Associates.
The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums, certifying that the museum operates according to the highest standards, manages its collection and provides quality service to the public. Of the 8,000 museums nationwide, only some 750 are accredited.
In 2010 Shout! Factory, in partnership with the Country Music Hall of Fame, released two double DVD sets named for the TV special Country's Greatest Stars Live. Volume 1 covers the first three hours of the star-studded event (hosted by Glen Campbell, Roy Clark and Dolly Parton), including live performances by Gene Autry, Carlene Carter, Loretta Lynn and others. Volume 2 features the last four hours (hosted by Eddy Arnold, Tennessee Ernie Ford, Crystal Gayle and Charley Pride), including live performances by Asleep At The Wheel, Freddy Fender, Anne Murray and more.
- Country Music Association
- List of Country Music Hall of Fame inductees
- Music City Walk of Fame
- iBooks Author Conference
- The Country Music Hall of Fame & Museum. Nashville, Tenn.: Country Music Foundation, 1990. N.B.: The structure as described in this document is the original one which had opened in 1967; the book (amply ill. in b&w and col.) describes the work, collections, etc. of the center's Hall of Fame, Museum (which includes a library), and recording studio, and also gives an account of the development and various aspects of the country music industry. ISBN 0-915608-12-X
- Country Music Hall of Fame
- Aerial view of museum
- A visitor's perspective of the museum