Opening of country music museum nears

Opening of country music museum nears

BRISTOL, Va. - It's been years in the making with planning and raising all of the money needed to make it a reality; but now Bristol's Birthplace of Country Music Museum is just a year away from opening.

A dream that began a little over ten years and $10 million ago is just a year away from becoming a reality. From an artist's concept to real plans and a 3D model, the real thing is quite impressive.

The museum's first curator and director is already in love with the job. "I joke that I would have gone to North Dakota to do exactly what I'm doing here. To be able to do it in the area that I grew up in is really important to me," said director Jessica Turner.

She grew up in Chilhowie, Virginia and is proud of what the museum represents. "It doesn't feel like a job. This is a lot of peoples' life work. A lot of community support, thought, research and advocacy has gone into this, and now it's happening," Turner says.

Soon the walls and owl coves will be filled with the story of how it all began -- the historic Bristol Sessions, the stories of who was there and the impact they had.

The museum will meet the rigid standards of the Smithsonian Museum, with which it is affiliated. Specialty climate-controlled rooms, for example, are required, along with places for live music and educational activities.

There's even a church where most of the music began and an exhibit about the building itself. "This [building] was built in 1919. It was Goodpasture Motors. Some of the early advertising said 'Trade your mule for you first motor wagon'," Turner said.

In fact, it's keeping everything in a historical perspective that is also part of the cost. "We're working closely with the Department of Historic Resources to make sure that we are preserving this building to historic preservation standards. That's why it costs a lot, but we feel like we're making good choices because this is a piece of history and it's important to remember that," she says.

When complete, it will be the crowning jewel of what makes Bristol the Birthplace of Country Music.

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