You need at least 3 hours to see all of the exhibits. Some require more time because its an experience. They have live demonstrations and sometimes current performers go there. Its best to see what event or performance or artist is to appear. They have videos, sound recordings, cars, and costumes.
If you love country music & its history... well, I don't have to give you any reasons to go here or tell you how much you'll like it - just go & enjoy.
If you HATE country music... well, you'll take a bit of convincing. Here's the deal, unless you're a history buff or like looking at antique anything - skip the inside exhibits. To get a taste of what's inside for free go to the Grand Ole Opry Museum at Opryland - then decide if you want to see more of the same. BUT the Country Music Hall of Fame BUILDING is definately worth looking at. The building itself is amazing. Stand outside on the street & look at the building as a whole. Do you see the radio tower? Can you see the piano keys? Pretty cool, isn't it?
May 2010: The Country Music Hall of Fame did experience some flood damage in the basement. The building needed a bit of cleanup, but all of the exhibits and artifiacts are just fine. They are open for business just like always. Go, see, enjoy.
I came here on the Smithsonian Free Museum Day, thereby saving the $18 admission fee. I was duly impressed, however, as this is a treasure trove of country music memorabilia. Part museum, part archive - you begin on the third floor which houses the rotating exhibits (currently - Sept 2009 - is Brenda Lee "Little Miss Dynamite"), and the historical beginnings of country music. As you walk down the hall, you see glass cases with articles of different genre's and artists (bluegrass, western, etc) and rounded areas wherein you can step and hear different songs. To the right is a railing where you can look down onto the other floors, and directly across to the archives.
The second floor is currently showing "Family Tradition - the Hank Williams family story", which is very interesting and surprisingly touching. It also showcases many many gold records, and costumes and personal effects of more modern country music stars (Keith Whitley's motorcycle, Barbara Mandrell's fiddle and dress worn to her induction at the Hall of Fame, Dolly Parton's wig).
The first floor is the Hall of Fame itself - the giant stylus of the exterior, is reduced and inverted inside, so it looks like it is playing a record on the floor. The back of the Hall features a massive mural by Thomas Hart Benton depicting the origins of country music.
The stop at the wonderful museum shop is what did me in - my "free" museum day cost me $25, as I had to buy a Brenda Lee CD, a couple of postcards, and a couple of items to put back for Christmas gifts. The prices were mostly reasonable (I think my CD would have cost more to buy at a regular music store).
Overall, I really enjoyed my visit and would go again. There are always dollars-off and 2-for-1 coupons in the tourist magazines, so be sure to NOT pay full price if you don't have to. Allow 2-3 hours, depending on how much you like to read the exhibits (I tend to read EVERYTHING).
Hatch Show Print is a little gem, appealing to music lovers, Americana buffs, and design hipsters. The Hatch runs one of America's oldest letterpress print shops and features inconic advertising posters celebrating American pop culture.
Here's what their website has to say, far better than I could myself: It started, naturally enough, with the Hatch family. William H. Hatch ran a print shop in the town of Prescott, Wisconsin, where his two sons, Charles R. and Herbert H. (born in 1852 and 1854, respectively), grew up and learned the craft of letterpress printmaking. In 1875, William moved his family to Nashville where, four years later, Charles and Herbert founded CR and HH Hatch.
From their very first print job - a handbill announcing the appearance of Rev. Henry Ward Beecher (brother of Harriet Beecher Stowe), the Hatch Brothers got the look right. Here was the simplicity, the effortless balance between type size and style, vertical and horizontal layout. Here too was the distinct whiff of American history, Southern culture and entertainment.
Hatch flourished, for these were the days when show business was get-up-and-go business. Show posters created the excitement that sold the show, covering the sides of buildings and barns in cities and towns throughout the country. Whether circus, minstrel show, vaudeville act or carnival, if you wanted to fill seats, Hatch got the job done.
From the mid-1920s, when Charles' son Will T. Hatch took over the business, until Will's death in 1952, Hatch lived its Golden Age. It was a golden era for country music as well, and Hatch captured the magic. Will frequently turned his talent as a master woodblock carver to "chiseling and gouging" (as someone once put it) some of the most indelible images of country music performers ever made. To further seal the historic link, Hatch's home from 1925 to 1992 was right behind the Ryman Auditorium, the "Mother Church" of country music.
Hatch captured the glory of other musical genres, doing work for the great African-American jazz and blues entertainers of the day such as Cab Calloway, Bessie Smith, Duke Ellington and Louis Armstrong.
Just as eye-catching were the "bread and butter" posters that filled in the blanks during this time, the small jobs for filling stations, laundries, grocery stores and movie theaters. This openness to the sheer breadth of Southern culture and advertising helped Hatch Show Print survive the comparatively lean years that followed the death of Will Hatch in 1952. While letterpress printmakers found it hard to compete in the more modern, faster age of offset printmaking, Hatch could turn to country music and other "old faithfuls" for continued support, while embracing newer forms of entertainment such as all-star wrestling and rock and roll.
Ownership of Hatch changed hands several times in these years. Bill Denny (fittingly enough, son of Grand Ole Opry General Manager Jim Denny), Gaylord Entertainment and others all played roles in keeping Hatch alive. Gaylord was directly responsible for the generous donation of Hatch to the Country Music Foundation in 1992 and was also instrumental in helping Hatch move to its present location when the old building was razed.
The Country Music Hall of Fame is definitely a museum for the fans and fanatics of a music whose roots are steeped in mountain air, fiddle and banjo twang. Whether you are fairweather fan or live, eat, and breath country music you will appreciate the lenghts that were taken to show off the best of what country music has to offer. At the end of the tour if you don't have a deep appreciation for the music, at least you will understand why many other do.
The Museum offers a casual dining with light meals and a grab and go cart.
Ages 6-17 $11.99
Ages 5 & under FREE
Ages 60+, college students & military $17.99
For an additional $2.00 for Adults ($21.99), and an additional $3.00 for Youth ($14.99) you can get the audio wand. Voices of country music's elite guide you through the halls with a little more information about the items displayed. I suggest that, unless you are a huge fan of country music, save your money and do not use the audio wands, each displayed item has it's own information boards and are just as useful.
Studio B Adult $12.99
Studio B Youth $10.99
Open daily 9 a.m.- 5 p.m.
Closed Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day
Closed Tuesdays in January and February
The first Country Music Hall of Fame was built in 1967 on Music Row, and it moved into the distinctive new facility in downtown Nashville in 2001. The first three members of the Hall were Jimmie Rodgers, Hank Williams and Fred Rose; they were inducted in 1961 before the Hall of Fame building actually existed, so their plaques were displayed in the Tennessee State Museum. Country stars Kathy Mattea and Trisha Yearwood worked as tour guides at the original hall of fame location prior to achieving their country stardom.
The museum may look odd, but it has its symbolism. The windows are designed to resemble piano keys, the radio mast is a miniature replica of the WSM tower located a few miles south of Nashville, and the disks below the radio tower represent the LPs, 45s and CDs that country music has been recorded on.
Tickets range from $21 to $30 per adult.
We got there early so it was not very crowded, so I would recommend getting there when it openings. The place really started to fill up as we were leaving. I would also say to give yourself at least 2 hours. Personally I didn't enjoy the audio because it was to slow and monotone but that is just my opinion. I would definitely say it is a must do for a first trip to Nashville so that you you can understand and appreciate the Music City a little more. I thought the price was a little steep.
This is for all the country lovers out there because this gives you a complete insight about country music. They had a great exhibit of Ray Charles and his works. Even though I'm not a country music this was pretty decent day trip too bad I'm not familiar with lot of the artists and musicians.
The Country Music Hall of Fame is, of course, country music's equivalent to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio. The Country Music Hall of Fame has many country music memorabilia, from classic country singers, such as Loretta Lynn, Dolly Parton, and Roy Rogers, to modern singers, like Shania Twain. The museum also takes you through the history of country music, so it's very educational.
After your done looking through the museum, go to the gift shop. The entire wall is covered with records from country music singers. If you take time to look at the outside of the building, you will notice that it is designed to look like a giant keyboard!
Admission prices vary, depending on whether you want extra things or not. If you simply want to enter and explore the museum on your own, an adult ticket costs about $17.00 and ages 6 to 17 cost about $9.00. Senior citizens, college students, and military get a discount, and children under 6 are free. You can also purchase tickets online.
(see website for more information)
I didn't know a lot about Country Music before I went to Nashville but after a visit to the museum I feel that not only has my knowledge increased but I was encouraged to learn about and listen to more country music.
The museum traces the history of country music from it's roots through to the present day. How it has been influenced by different musical styles i.e. rock and roll, but also how it has influenced many other musical styles. There are exhibits about different strands of country music i.e bluegrass, hillbilly and about the people who have created and shaped country music. From people who I had heard of, like Hank Williams & Johnny Cash, to people who I hadn't like Lester Flatt & Bill Monroe. All done in such a way that it is put into a context within the framework of country music. The exhibits are easy to read, interesting and set out very well. Also as you go along you get to listen as well as look. Push the button and you can hear Lefty Frizzell while looking at his guitar & suit. Sound booths at various points let you listen to landmark recordings while text explains how they changed or exemplified the musical style at that time. There is a lot to see and listen to but I never felt overwhelmed. The museum feels small and intimate despite the fact that it is supplying a lot of information. After completing your visit to the museum you get to visit the Country Music Hall of Fame. Seeing the plaques on the walls you recognize the names of people who you have just been learning about and have a little more understanding of who they are and why they are being celebrated.
It is a fantastic museum and fascinating whether you are a country music fan or not. I left feeling totally enthused and totally excited.
I'd recommend it. A lot!
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