BRISTOL, Tenn./Va. - There was a big announcement out of Bristol Thursday -- the Birthplace of Country Music announced plans to move forward with a museum in downtown Bristol.
The building will be turned into music museum featuring interactive exhibits and the history of country music. The transformation has been more than ten years in the making and in just a few weeks, construction will begin.
It's an announcement that's been more than a decade in the making. "It's very important to us to give the Birthplace of Country Music a home," said BCM executive director Leah Ross.
After raising more than $10 million, construction is now ready for the the state-of the art museum. The museum will be an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution; we learned it will meet all guidelines of the American Association of Museums.
Plans are already in the works to include the history of the region, along with some traveling exhibits according to designer Joseph Nicholson. "We're not going to have what you would have thought many times as your grandfather's museum; as they say, just an object in a case with a label. Quite the contrary. We're going to have an experience where you come and immerse yourself in the music," he said.
The goal is to have the museum attract people of all ages. "The ability to bring our young people to the building for educational opportunities to teach them about the music of our region to teach them how," Ross said.
Architects are working to maintain the history of the building in downtown Bristol. Although it may look like it needs a lot of work, we've learned it has been stabilized and a lot of the outside work is already done.
Pretty soon even more work will be done. "There will be construction signs going up. In fact, I think from now on there will be activity here until it opens," said Peyton Boyd.
The Birthplace of Country Music Museum is projected to open in August 2014, just in time for the race at Bristol Motor Speedway and the Rhythm & Roots festival.