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Musicians take center stage at this Nashville museum

In celebration of the Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum’s 18th anniversary on Sunday, June 9, we look back at its roots in Music City and what you’ll find in the exhibit halls today.

The exterior of the Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville, TN, with a cutouts of musicians on the window and the museum's motto "Come & See What You've Heard."

The museum is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday. | Photo via Wikimedia Commons

A museum dedicated to those who strum the guitars, play the keys, and pound the drums. That’s the mission of the Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum, which opened its doors 18 years ago this weekend.

The museum’s early days

On June 9, 2006, musicians from all over the country joined founder Joe Chambers for a ribbon cutting ceremony and grand opening jam at the museum’s original 30,000-sqft location at 301 6th Ave. S. The space housed a performance hall, a screening theater, music instruction rooms, and a recording studio.

The museum closed in 2010 to make way for Music City Center, and in the same year, lost instruments to the flood. Despite these setbacks, it doubled in size when it reopened on the first floor of Nashville Municipal Auditorium in August 2013.

Inductees

In late 2007, the Musicians Hall of Fame named its first class of inductees, six groups whose members backed everyone from Elvis Presley and The Beach Boys to Johnny Cash and The Supremes.

  • The Blue Moon Boys
  • The Funk Brothers
  • The Nashville “A” Team
  • The Tennessee Two
  • The Wrecking Crew
  • The Memphis Boys

Since then, it has welcomed 50+ musicians and bands into the Hall of Fame, including the seventh and most recent class of Vince Gill, Ray Stevens, Don McLean, George Massenburg, James William Guercio, ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons + Marty Stuart and his Fabulous Superlatives.

An upclose image of the Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum's "Stax" exhibit with a gold framed display case holding a saxophone and trumpet and a photo of Wayne Jackson and Andrew Love.

See Andrew Love’s King tenor saxophone and Al Jackson Jr.’s Ludwig drum set in the Stax exhibit. | Photo via Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum

Inside the museum

The museum’s galleries stay true to its motto, “Come See What You Heard,” featuring hundreds of instruments, studio equipment, and artifacts dedicated to music scenes across the county: LA, Motown, Muscle Shoals, and Nashville, to name just a few.

You’ll also find a recreation of the Stax Records storefront in Memphis, a gallery exploring the history of the Grammy Awards, and a space dedicated to Jimi Hendrix.

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