Sing Me Back Home is the title of the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum’s permanent exhibit, an exciting, multi-layered journey through the life of Country music. Through artifacts, photographs, original recordings, archival video, newly produced films, touchscreen interactive media, and beautifully rendered text panels, Sing Me Back Home immerses you in the history and sounds of country music, its meanings, and the lives and voices of many of its honored personalities. A self-guided tour covering two floors of the Museum, Sing Me Back Home tells the story of country music from its pre-commercial roots in the nineteenth century through its vibrant life in the twenty-first century. Organized chronologically, the story moves through large subjects such as “Country During the War Years,” for example, while each glass artifact case has its own theme as well. You can read about the music and its makers if you like, or you can let the powerful photos, instruments, costumes – and especially the music – tell the story by themselves.
History of the Country Music Hall of Fame
In 1961 the Country Music Association (CMA) announced the creation of the Country Music Hall of Fame and chose its first three inductees’ Jimmie Rodgers, Hank Williams, and Fred Rose. These first three members were announced in November at a CMA banquet held in conjunction with WSM-radio’s tenth annual disc jockey convention.
The Hall of Fame members’ plaques, with facial likenesses and thumbnail biographies cast in bas-relief, were unveiled on the Grand Ole Opry by Ernest Tubb. Until 1967 these plaques and those for subsequent Hall of Fame inductees were displayed in the Tennessee State Museum in downtown Nashville. In 1963 the CMA announced plans for a Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum to be built on Music Row in Nashville. That same year the state of Tennessee chartered the Country Music Foundation, Inc. (CMF) as a non-profit, educational organization charged with operating the Museum The original Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum (pictured at left) opened on Music Row (Sixteenth and Division) on April 1, 1967, and closed December 31, 2000. During these years of rapid growth and expansion the Museum’s operations came to also include educational programs, CMF Press and CMF Records, the Country Music Foundation Library (1968), and the historic sites RCA Studio B (1977) and Hatch Show Print (1986). The new $37,000,000 Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum celebrated its grand opening on May 17, 2001. This facility features the Hall of Fame Rotunda, where the bronze plaques are displayed for future generations to honor and enjoy.