Birthplace of Country Music Museum

520 Birthplace of Country Music Way, Bristol, VA 24201 - United States





Smithsonian Affiliate Museum

The Birthplace of Country Music Museum (BCMM), an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution, is located in Historic Downtown Bristol, TN/VA. The 24,000-square foot museum shares the story of the 1927 Bristol Sessions recordings, explores how sound technology shaped their success and has evolved, and highlights how this rich musical heritage lives on in today’s music. From the Bristol Sessions and beyond, our region continues to influence music around the world.

Through text and artifacts, multiple theater experiences, film and sound, and interactive, technology-infused displays, the exciting story of this music and its far-reaching influence comes alive! Throughout the year, BCMM hosts a variety of educational programs, film series, music concerts and workshops, and community events – all of which give our visitors the chance to explore this story and music more deeply. Rotating exhibitions from guest curators and other institutions, including the Smithsonian, are featured regularly in the Special Exhibits Gallery.


The Birthplace of Country Music Museum's core exhibits, focused on the story of the 1927 Bristol Sessions recordings and their impact, are on display all year. Visitors get the chance to explore the sounds of the Sessions – every issued recording is represented!

Other interactives give visitors the chance to listen to the ways contemporary musicians from Lead Belly to Nirvana have arranged some of these classic songs; to give those tunes new sounds at the mixing stations; and to belt out a song with family, friends and fellow visitors at the sing-along station.

There are also multiple theater experiences, beginning with the Orientation Theater film “Bound To Bristol.” Other theaters allow visitors to explore the philosophy and techniques behind the playing of the 1927 Bristol Sessions recordings; to take a pew in our small chapel to hear local gospel groups speak and sing about how faith has shaped music and our connection to it; and enjoy the festival atmosphere in the Immersion Theater – a space that makes you part of “the unbroken circle” and gives you space to dance!

Current and upcoming special exhibits include:
Real Folk: Passing On Trades & Traditions Through the Virginia Folklife Apprenticeship Program
March 6-August 2, 2020
Honky Tonk: Portraits of Country Music 1972-1981
September 1, 2020-March 13, 2021

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