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Construction to Begin on Birthplace of Country Music Museum

October 11, 2012

Thursday morning at 11:00am the Birthplace of Country Music announced that fundraising for the Birthplace of Country Music Museum is now complete and construction will begin on the former Goodpasture Motors building, located on the corners of Moore and Cumberland Streets in Historic Downtown Bristol, VA, the first of November. The expected completion date for the project is August 2014, just in time for fans coming to the twin cities for the summer race at Bristol Motor Speedway and Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion.

Birthplace of Country Music Alliance will also begin re-branding efforts, and will go by their registered trademark "Birthplace of Country Music".

"The Birthplace of Country Music will encompass the Museum, Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion, the events we each sponsor and the possibilities we have with our brand," states Birthplace of Country Music Board President John Rainero.

"We not only see this as a great achievement for our organization, but also a great achievement for our region's music, our cultural heritage, and our great cities," says Rainero. "Finally, The Bristol Sessions, — which Johnny Cash called the single most important event in the history of country music — and its legacy, will have a home."

As an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution, all construction and design of the Birthplace of Country Music Museum will meet the best practices criteria of the American Association of Museums under the guidance of the Smithsonian. This process has already begun with members of the design team and Smithsonian representatives.

Studio MUSarx, under the direction of Joe Nicholson, has been working on exhibit design on the project. Joe was the exhibit designer for the Louisville Slugger Museum and has worked on numerous projects with the Smithsonian Institution. He is working closely with ten local historians, musicologists, and scholars whose primary goal is to be “keepers of the authentic”.

Renowned audio/visual team Hilmann-Carr, who has worked on a number of projects with the Smithsonian Institution and the Library of Congress is already at hard at work gathering materials for the creation of a unique, visual experience that will impact the senses. The imagery will be historically correct and include the wonderful music of our region.

Lead architect, Peyton Boyd, is a native Bristolian known for attention to historic preservation and green building practices. He is working closely with Virginia Historic Preservation guidelines to assure we maintain the integrity of the building to their specifications.

Once the Birthplace of Country Music Museum is open, The Weldon Cooper Institute at the University of Virginia estimates a five-year economic impact of $49 million to our region. They estimate 75,000 visitors to the Museum annually, in turn generating tax revenue for our cities and patrons for our businesses.

The economic impact of the Birthplace of Country Music Museum has already begun. Two months ago the Birthplace of Country Music created twelve jobs putting a team together of local experts and historians, led by Jessica Turner of Virginia Intermont College. Ted Olson of East Tennessee State University's Center for Appalachian Studies, former BCMA Executive Director Bill Hartley, and others, have been working along side designers from Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. to tell our region's story.

The Birthplace of Country Music Museum will be a dynamic experience of the senses. It will be a celebration of our past, an emersion of our history and future. Travelling exhibits from the Smithsonian and its affiliates will be shown on a rotating basis in a space designed specifically for this purpose. Permanent exhibits will be largely interactive and designed to appeal to all ages.

Students will have the opportunity to participate in traditional music lessons that will be available in our educational spaces and participate in Smithsonian internships right here in Bristol.

A 100-seat performance theatre will allow lectures and seminars to be offered by performers and scholars, and it will provide an unmatched place for live music with the ability to record and broadcast from The Birthplace.

The Birthplace of Country Music Museum we will include educational outreach programs designed to demonstrate the relationship between music and faith, family, art, business and technology and expand on our mission to celebrate our rich musical heritage.

The Birthplace of Country Music Museum would not be possible without the cooperation of our city governments, our legislators, our city leaders, and partnerships with local organizations. It is also necessary to thank Birthplace of Country Music and Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion staff and board members — both past and present — for their perseverance and endless hard work. It is also important to thank Steve Johnson for his generous donation of the former Goodpasture Motors Building for the Birthplace of Country Music Museum.

"This trip has taken longer than the two flat tires and the creek fordings that the Carters had to endure on their way to Bristol in 1927," Rainero quoted, "sometimes good things happen to those who wait. Bristol, our time is now!"

The Birthplace of Country Music would like to thank the following for their valuable contributions in seeing this project come to fruition:

Current & Former Boards of Directors for Birthplace of Country Music and Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion, Bristol Chamber of Commerce, Bristol Convention & Visitors Bureau, Pick Bristol, Believe in Bristol, Bristol, Virginia and Bristol, Tennessee City Employees, and our dedicated community Volunteers.

Former VA State Rep. William C. Wampler, Jr.
VA State Senator Phil Puckett
VA State Senator Bill Carrico
VA 1st Dist. Del. Terry Kilgore
VA 4th Dist. Del Joe Johnson
VA 5th Dist. Del. Israel O'Quinn
Virginia Tobacco Commission
Virginia Community Devp. Corp.
Virginia Commission for the Arts
TN Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey
Tennessee Arts Commission
People, Incorporated
Carter Bank
Gentry Lock Rakes & Moore, LLP
City of Bristol, Virginia
City of Bristol, Tennessee
Bristol, VA City Mgr. Dewey Cashwell
Bristol, TN City Mgr. Jeff Broughton
The Friends of 1927
Alma Douglas and The Smithsonian Institution

The Birthplace of Country Music is also grateful to the following contributors:

Alpha Natural Resources
ASR System of the Tri-Cities
Bristol Tennessee Essential Services
Bristol Virginia Utilities
BurWil Construction Company
Clarke Charitable Foundation
Dan Bieger
Darrell Cole, Henry Looney, Seldon Johnson, and Allen Curtis
David & Nancy Deal
Dent K. Burke
Dr. Fred Gent
East Tennessee State University Center for Appalachian Studies
Electro-Mechanical Corporation
First Bank & Trust Company
First Tennessee Bank
The Goodpasture Family
Holston Valley Distributing
HVAC, Inc.
J.Henry Kegley Foundation
Jean Burnette
Jim Cooper
Jim & Barb Street
John & Ann Tickle
John & Becky Matney
K-VAT Food Stores
King Pharmaceuticals
Lead Community Trust
Massengill-DeFriece Foundation
Mike & Nita Vollmer
Mountain Stage
Mrs. Allen C. Clarke
Mumford & Sons
Rob Nicar
Robin & Margaret Feierabend
Superior Distribution
Thomas Charitable Foundation