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Birthplace of Country Music, Inc. (Bristol, TN 37621-0216)
David Lewis (Project Director: May 2015 to January 2018)
Becky Littleton (Project Director: January 2018 to January 2018)
Rene Rodgers (Project Director: January 2018 to January 2018)
Preservation Assessment for Audiovisual, Paper, and Photographic Collections

A preservation assessment of a country music collection consisting of photographs, archives, and audiovisual materials. Totaling approximately 124 linear feet, the museum’s holdings include 10 cylinder recordings and 1,500 studio master sound recordings, as well as a small collection of legacy audio playback machines, microphones, and radio equipment. Collectively, the media document the evolution of country musical forms and their cultural contexts and encompass a number of sub-genres, such as old-time, hillbilly, bluegrass, and gospel. The collections provide an important resource for scholars, community members, and visitors and are currently used for research, in exhibitions, and for public programs, including an upcoming Ken Burns documentary on country music.

This grant will support a preservation needs assessment for our museum collections at an important juncture in our life as an institution. Our museum opened in August 2014 after a decade of capital development and construction, and has been collecting for at least that long. Because of uneven funding, attempts to organize and preserve our holdings during much of this time were haphazard and based on a conservative collection strategy focused on items for core museum exhibits. Since June 2014 we have employed a full-time collections manager, who has provided more consistency in our preservation and organization efforts. As we prepare to renovate an adjacent building to include a larger archival storage space, this preservation needs assessment will help us prioritize our ongoing conservation efforts, re-evaluate our collections plan, and make the best use of our new archival space.

Project fields:
American Studies; Music History and Criticism; U.S. History

Preservation Assistance Grants

Preservation and Access

$6,000 (approved)
$6,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
1/1/2016 – 6/30/2017