NASHVILLE, April 16, 2014 – The Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum celebrated a major milestone Tuesday afternoon, April 15, as it unveiled its 210,000-square-foot expansion, more than doubling the size of its iconic home in downtown Nashville. The grand opening ceremony, made possible with support from Ford Motor Company and the Middle Tennessee Ford Dealers, took place in the museum’s Event Hall overlooking the Nashville skyline.
Roof-raising performances by Country Music Hall of Fame member Vince Gill, the McCrary Sisters, Ricky Skaggs, the Valentines and Lee Ann Womack, accompanied by the Grand Opening All-Star Band, under the direction of Buddy Miller, served as soul-stirring reminders of the diverse musical family the museum exists to exalt, while Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam, Nashville Mayor Karl Dean, Museum Director Kyle Young and museum board Chairman Steve Turner each delivered inspiring commemorative remarks. The event drew hundreds of today’s music industry, government and community leaders, as well as original, longtime museum visionaries such as Country Music Hall of Fame member and board Chairman Emeritus Bud Wendell and enthusiastic members of the general public.
The celebration marked the final phase of the museum’s expansion—10,000 square feet of new gallery space—joining recently opened additions including the 800-seat CMA Theater, the Taylor Swift Education Center, a new home for the legendary and thriving letterpress operation Hatch Show Print and the Event Hall. The expansion also includes much-needed archival and library storage, allowing for even more robust cultivation of the museum’s treasured collection.
“The new interactive exhibits, along with our previously opened Taylor Swift Education Center, emphasize our commitment to educate our audience in new ways,” said Museum Director Kyle Young.
“Ultimately, all of this incredible growth enables the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum to do what it does best even better,” said Young. “Our peerless staff can expand and focus on its core objective to preserve, interpret and teach the history of country music in a state-of-the-art facility built with that specific mission in mind.”
The debuting exhibits include the joint ACM Gallery and Dinah and Fred Gretsch Family Gallery, and the Design Gallery: A Window into the Collection. The ACM Gallery and the Dinah and Fred Gretsch Family Gallery feature an interactive, hands-on immersion into the country music of today. Items in the new exhibits range from recent history, such as Taylor Swift’s Pinnacle Award received from the CMA in November 2013, to the typewriter Don Schlitz used to compose “The Gambler.” The Design Gallery allows a behind-the-scenes view of museum staff hard at work on actual archival projects and offers additional display areas. The space is currently showing artifacts from the life and career of Country Music Hall of Fame member Glen Campbell.