BRISTOL, Virginia – From a makeshift recording studio in an old hat factory originated music so influential that the Birthplace of Country Music Museum recently opened its doors to the public to celebrate. The museum commemorates the original Bristol Sessions recorded on State Street 87 years ago.
Opened August 1, the museum tells the story of Ralph Peer, who set up the recording studio little knowing his music sessions would become legendary. The Bristol Sessions created the first recordings of the Carter Family and Jimmie Rogers.
“This is not a museum reliant on artifacts to tell the story of Bristol’s important place in music history,” said Dr. Jessica Turner, director of the museum. “It’s a place where the music comes alive with exciting film and sound experiences and interactive touch screen displays. It’s engaging for adults of all ages.”
An affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution, the museum reveals with music recordings how the sound of country music evolved from its earliest forms to the time of the Bristol recordings and beyond. Stories recorded from some of the people who participated in the Bristol Recordings give a first-person account of now famous events.
Other highlights include a reproduced train depot, historic instruments and a recreated small chapel that enlightens guests on the importance of gospel music.
For more information, visit www.birthplaceofcountrymusic.org.