Kentucky’s rich musical heritage is on display at the Kentucky Music Hall of Fame and Museum, located in Renfro Valley. From country to rock to jazz to bluegrass, there is something for the whole family to enjoy. Over 60 inductees now call the Hall of Fame home, which opened its doors in 2002. Part of the inaugural class included Loretta Lynn, Tom T. Hall, Bill Monroe, Jean Ritchie, The Osborne Brothers, Rosemary Clooney, Red Foley, Merle Travis, John Lair, Grandpa Jones, Bradley Kincaid, and the Everly Brothers.
Historically speaking, the red horse barn built in 1945 contains the entrance and gift shop was owned by John Lair, founder of Renfro Valley Entertainment Center. In 2002, the heirs of Mr. Lair donated the property with an expansion of 16,000 square feet to become the Kentucky Music Hall of Fame and Museum.
Visitors will experience the Current Inductee Room, which has display cases of artifacts of the 2022 Inductees. Some key items include a dress worn by Carly Pearce on the CMA Awards, as well as a 120-year-old guitar that Paul Yandell learned how to play. Just past the room is a display case of Keith Whitley featuring clothing he wore on the Opry, as well as a leather jacket.
Entering the museum, visitors will experience a history lesson of the roots of Kentucky music. First stop is an inside look tribute to Renfro Valley Entertainment Center, which has hosted concerts for over 80 years. Then you will intertwine through historical panels about shape note singing, songs of war, coal mining, radio station’s influence, and more. Some of the key stopping points include a bible from the Brush Arbor Movement 200 years ago, as well as a front porch cabin that invites you to sit and pick a tune. There are also videos playing throughout the museum to watch and learn about the musicians.
Visitors are then welcomed into more rooms with artifacts of inductees, including the dress that Loretta Lynn wore for her 2002 induction. You will see Merle Travis’s guitar, John Conlee’s rose-colored glasses, Eddie Montgomery’s beautiful suit jackets created by Manuel, as well as other items. You will even see items from the Backstreet Boys, Exile, Jackie DeShannon, Everly Brothers, Patty Loveless, Bill Monroe, just to name a few.
A special interactive exhibit area allows visitors to touch and play with guitar, mandolin, fiddle, banjo, or dobro. Kids are also included with several instruments for small hands.
The Kentucky Blues Music Festival will be held on June 17th outside in the amphitheater area and is free to attend. It will feature 2022 inductee, Tee Dee Young, along with his son, Treyvon King Band, performing.
Singer-songwriter rounds featuring some of the best songwriters in the area take place on the Kentucky Songbird Stage. Artist in Residence, Parker Hastings, also performs each month and will have an album release party on July 29th.
On September 9th, the Hall of Fame will host their 3rd annual Kentucky Food Truck Championship where 30 food trucks compete for the top prize of $5000 cash, along with category prizes. There will be over 20 craft vendors, kids’ activities, live music, and more on hand. More information can be found at www.kentuckyfoodtruckchampionship.com.
Open daily from 10AM to 6PM, the Kentucky Music Hall of Fame and Museum allows families to learn about the history, but also how to play music formed here in the bluegrass state. For more information on events, be sure to check out www.kentuckymusichalloffame.com, as well as follow on Facebook.