Library and archives - visible

Lorcan 2 min read

vanmorrison.jpgWe were in Nashville for a couple of days over the Easter period. Doing the tourist thing, we spent a couple of hours in the Country music hall of fame and museum. I was very interested to see at the center of the building, though glass panels, the Frist Library and Archive.

The Frist Library and Archive represents more than 30 years’ worth of collecting country music books, periodicals, photographs, fan club newsletters, scrapbooks, sheet music, songbooks, video and film, oral histories and sound recordings. [Frist Library and Archive | Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum | Nashville, Tennessee]

Here is how the experience was described in a Serials Review article of 2005 [1]:

Notice, though, that as you make your way around the exhibits, you find yourself separated only by a wide stretch of glass panels from the heart and guts of the museum–staff areas where sound recordings are transferred for preservation, artifacts are restored, and exhibits are prepared. As Chris Herrington, across the state at the Memphis Flyer, noted, this “[gives] the space the feel of a living museum.” [2] You’ll also see rows of compact shelving, occupied by holdings of the Frist Library and Archive. This is really where the heart is–the exhibition space is great, but behind the glass is country music’s Library of Congress. [Behind a pay wall: ScienceDirect – Serials Review : SR Visits the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville, Tennessee]

What I liked was that visitors to the museum could clearly see the shelves, boxes and equipment,the actual apparatus of managing materials. These were put at the center of the building, unobtrusive but clearly visible.
Incidentally, a highlight of the visit was the discovery of the Hatch Show Print letterpress posters. See this selection of work done for The Ryman.
Note: I know very little about country music and have only a tourist’s view of the library, supplemented by the account in the article.
[1] Peter Wilson and Katy Ginanni. “SR Visits the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville,Tennessee”. Serials Review. Volume 31, Issue 2, June 2005, Pages 159-163
[2] Chris Herrington, “Will the Circle Be Unbroken? Nashville Has a New Home for the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum,”, June 22, 2001,

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