The new home of the Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Owensboro, Kentucky opened October 18 with live music, special guests, exhibit openings and a celebration of legends of bluegrass.
It’s a rebranding for what was previously known as the International Bluegrass Music Museum, accompanying its move into a new 15.3 million-dollar building on the banks of the Ohio River.
The museum opened in 1992 on a part-time basis, and full-time a decade later after obtaining support from the state of Kentucky. Its location in Owensboro recognizes the father of bluegrass music, Bill Monroe, who grew up in neighboring Ohio County, Kentucky. The Hall of Fame and Museum will house permanent and special exhibits showing the history of the music and the people who play it, a research library, and performance spaces. The museum also sponsors the ROMP Festival in Owensboro every spring.
Changing the name to “Hall of Fame” was a natural decision, according to executive director Chris Joslin: “We have been the home of the Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame since day one, so it’s time our name reflects that. Much like the Country Music Hall of Fame & Museum and the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, we are the worldwide destination for our genre, bluegrass music.”
A centerpiece of the new Hall of Fame is the Woodward Theater, a 450-seat performance space that hosted the events of the opening weekend, including a special Hall of Fame induction ceremony on Thursday Oct. 18 and a concert by the Sam Bush Band on Friday. Plans call for live music at the theater every Saturday night.
In addition, there is an outdoor stage that will host a day of free music on Saturday of the opening weekend, featuring High Fidelity, Front Country, Town Mountain and the Yonder Mountain String Band.
Members of the Hall of Fame are chosen by the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) and installed at the annual World of Bluegrass convocation. The special invitation-only induction ceremony on October 18 honored a special class of five musicians chosen for the Hall of Fame in recognition of their lifetime contributions to bluegrass: Vassar Clements, Mike Seeger, Allen Shelton, Jake Tullock and Joe Val. Read more about the honorees here.
For more information about the Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame and Museum, go to www.bluegrassmuseum.org/