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McAuliffe announces grand opening of Birthplace of Country Music Museum

newspaperGov. Terry McAuliffe announced the grand opening of the Birthplace of Country Music Museum in Bristol, VA-Tenn. The Smithsonian Institution-affiliated museum is dedicated to preserving the legacy of the 1927 Bristol Sessions and their lasting influence on American popular music.

The 24,000 sq. ft. space will tell Bristol’s story as the home of the Bristol Sessions through permanent, technology-infused exhibits, a special exhibits gallery, educational programs, multiple film experiences and a theater dedicated exclusively to live, year-round music performances.

In the summer of 1927, Ralph Peer, a producer for the Victor Talking Machine Company in Camden, New Jersey, saw Bristol’s potential as a hub for country music and decided to hold auditions. Artists such as the Carter Family, Jimmie Rodgers and the Stoneman Family made recordings in a makeshift recording studio inside Downtown Bristol’s Taylor-Christian Hat Company. Johnny Cash referred to the famous Sessions, often referred to as the “Big Bang of Country Music,” as “The single most important event in the history of country music.”

The grand opening of the museum also featured live music performances by Carlene Carter, The Whistles and the Bells, and country music superstar Martina McBride, who will perform on Sunday.

Southwest Virginia has a strong legacy of musical heritage,” said Governor Terry McAuliffe, who spoke at today’s opening. “This new museum will educate the public on a significant part of country music’s history with a collection that you can’t find anywhere else in the world. The museum will offer visitors a brand new way to experience Southwest Virginia and a deeper understanding of this region.”

“This opening means great things for the economy in Virginia,” said Maurice Jones, Secretary of Commerce and Trade. “Music tourism brings millions of dollars a year in visitor spending. The museum will bring visitors to this region not only for the museum, but also to explore the other amazing venues along the Crooked Road. This visitation is estimated to have a nearly $50 million economic impact over five years.”

For more information on the Birthplace of Country Music Museum, visit