13 Secrets About the Country Music Hall of Fame That Every Country Music Fan Should Know
Happy 50th birthday, Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum! Read on for an insider look at the famed organization.
It was originally planned to be temporary
In the early 1960s, a contingent from the Country Music Association (CMA) was invited to create an exhibit on country music for the World’s Fair in New York. After traveling to New York and getting the lay of the land, the group ultimately determined that the amount it would cost to build a temporary exhibit for the World’s Fair could be better spent preserving that history in a permanent home in Nashville. Thus, the Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum was conceptualized and created, originally opening on April 1, 1967. And like country music itself, the original building has evolved down through the years and will continue to do so. The current building is a sleek 400,000 extravaganza with exhibits that will help you explore this truly American art form—country music.
Only three new honorees are inducted each year
Three new inductees are named each year in three distinct categories: Modern era, veterans’ era, and a third category, which rotates every three years. That rotating category includes non-performer, songwriter, and recording and/or touring musician. Modern era candidates are eligible for Hall of Fame induction 20 years after they first achieve “national prominence.” Veterans’ era candidates are eligible for induction 45 years after they first achieve “national prominence.” An anonymous panel of industry leaders chosen by the CMA elects new members of the Country Music Hall of Fame annually.
Hank Williams was one of the first inductees
The first members—Jimmie Rodgers, Fred Rose, and Hank Williams—were inducted in 1961. This year’s honorees will include: Alan Jackson (modern era), Jerry Reed (veterans era), and Don Schlitz (songwriter) and will be formally inducted on October 22, 2017.
The youngest inductee was not so young
In 1966, at age 48, Eddy Arnold was elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame. He remains the youngest inductee ever to receive the honor. A scan of the those honored down through the years will reveal many inductees have been well along in years, being inducted after all the time it took them to become and remain country music superstars.
The ceremony isn’t televised
The annual Medallion Ceremony serves as the formal induction to the Country Music Hall of Fame. This special, invitation-only ceremony is held in the Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum’s CMA Theater. During the Medallion Ceremony, friends and colleagues pay tribute to each inductee through words and song. Bronze plaques honoring each inductee are unveiled and later displayed in the museum’s Rotunda. The ceremony is not televised, but in 2017, for the first time ever, fans will be able to watch the inductees’ remarks during the ceremony via livestream on the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum’s website.
Taylor Swift donated a lot of money
In 2012, Taylor Swift pledged a donation of $4 million to the Museum to construct the Taylor Swift Education Center. The donation, which is the largest capital contribution by an individual in Museum’s history, funded an education center that opened in 2014 and features three classrooms and a children’s exhibit gallery. In just the last year, 97,000 students participated in 1,000 hands-on educational programs generated by the Taylor Swift Education Center.
You can get married there
There are hundreds of unique wedding venues around America and you can rent out the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum for all sorts of special events and weddings. From a small boardroom to the massive event hall with stunning Nashville skyline views to the 776-seat CMA Theater to the entire building, the Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum hosts more than 350 private events each year including corporate events, weddings, and private concerts.
The Museum owns Hatch Show Print
If you follow music, art, and culture of the American South, sooner or later you’re bound to run into the letters, images, and unmistakable look of Hatch Show Print. (Find out what your favorite music says about your personality.) One of the oldest working letterpress print shops in America, Hatch Show Print, a 138-year-old letterpress print shop, produces posters that have featured a host of country music performers, ranging from Country Music Hall of Famers Hank Williams, Bill Monroe, and Johnny Cash to contemporary stars such as Brad Paisley and Jason Isbell. Public tours of Hatch Show Print are available via the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum’s website.
RCA Studio B is also operated by the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum
Historic RCA Studio B played a major role in establishing Nashville’s identity as a recording center. Dozens of country and pop stars made recordings here, primarily from 1957 to 1977, when the studio was operated by RCA Records. There are few recording studios that can claim the number of hit records that have come from Historic RCA Studio B, located in Nashville’s famous Music Row area. More than 35,000 songs were brought to life by Studio B magic, including more than 1,000 American hits, 40 million-selling singles, and over 200 Elvis Presley recordings. Public tours of RCA Studio B are available via the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum’s website.
There are 466 guitars in the Museum’s collection
The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum has a collection of more than 2.5 million artifacts ranging from performance costumes and recorded music to videos and songwriter manuscripts. These includes Maybelle’s 1928 Gibson L5; Lester Flatt’s 1950 Martin D-28; Emmylou Harris’s 1955 Gibson J-200 with custom black finish and inlaid rose.
There are 11 handwritten song manuscripts
These include “Jolene” by Dolly Parton; “Gentle on My Mind” by John Hartford; and “Help Me Make It Through the Night” by Kris Kristofferson.