The Country Music Hall Of Fame And Museum® Awarded National Endowment For The Humanities Grant To Create Online Version Of Its Celebrated Night Train To Nashville Exhibit
The multimedia exhibit will be accessible for free on the museum’s
website and supported by new public programs
NASHVILLE, Tenn., Oct. 6, 2021 – The Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum was recently awarded a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to create an online version of its award-winning 2004-2005 exhibition, Night Train to Nashville: Music City Rhythm & Blues 1945-1970. The online exhibit will revive, update and preserve the significant story of Nashville’s vibrant and pioneering R&B scene and its role in building the city into a world-renowned music center. The exhibit, which will be supported by new public programs, is scheduled to be completed in November 2022 and will be free to access on the museum’s website.
The grant is part of NEH’s Sustaining the Humanities through the American Rescue Plan, which aims to support the critical role the humanitiesplay in our nation and assist cultural institutions affected by the coronavirus pandemic. The nonprofit museum is one of eight cultural and educational institutions in Tennessee to receive funding. Approximately 115 museums, historic sites and historical societies nationally were awarded grants.
The Night Train to Nashville exhibit filled the museum’s 5,000-square-foot, second-floor gallery from March 2004 to December 2005. The major exhibition explored Nashville’s R&B activity in the decades following World War II, which played a significant role in building Nashville’s worldwide reputation as “Music City.” As Nashville’s country music industry was just getting started, the city was a hotbed for R&B in the late 1940s,’50s and ’60s, with celebrated performers—including Ray Charles, Little Richard, Arthur Alexander, Etta James, Ruth Brown and Jimi Hendrix—contributing to the city’s rich musical heritage. The exhibition also highlighted the roles of many other talented and often unheralded contributors, including Nashville musicians, songwriters, radio personalities, record label executives, television producers and nightclub owners.
Like the physical exhibition, the online exhibit’s narrative will be organized into distinct chapters. Themes include the roots of Nashville R&B; the city’s live music scene; the influential radio and recording industries; R&B on television; and R&B songwriters’ and performers’ strong ties to Nashville’s country music community. Its digital presentation will incorporate many of the same rich multimedia features found in the museum’s recently created online exhibits, Suiting the Sound: The Rodeo Tailors Who Made Country Stars Shine Brighter and Dylan, Cash and the Nashville Cats: A New Music City.
During the exhibit’s original run, Night Train to Nashville garnered the museum a Bridging the Gap Award (2006) from the Nashville chapter of the NAACP for the promotion of interracial understanding. Additionally, the exhibit’s companion album Night Train to Nashville: Music City Rhythm & Blues, 1945–1970 received a GRAMMY award for Best Historical Album (2004).
The recent grant awards by the NEH are supported by $135 million in supplemental funding allocated to NEH by the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021.
About the National Endowment for the Humanities:
Created in 1965 as an independent federal agency, the National Endowment for the Humanities supports research and learning in history, literature, philosophy, and other areas of the humanities by funding selected, peer-reviewed proposals from around the nation. Additional information about the National Endowment for the Humanities and its grant programs is available at neh.gov.
About the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum:
The Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum collects, preserves and interprets country music and its history for the education and entertainment of diverse audiences. In exhibits, publications and educational programs, the museum explores the cultural importance and enduring beauty of the art form. The museum is operated by the Country Music Foundation, a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) educational organization chartered by the state of Tennessee in 1964. The museum is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums, and is among the 10 most-visited history museums in the U.S. The Country Music Foundation operates Historic RCA Studio B®, Hatch Show Print® poster shop, CMF Records, the Frist Library and Archive and CMF Press. Museum programs are supported in part by Metropolitan Nashville Arts Commission and Tennessee Arts Commission.
About the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum:
More information about the Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum is available at www.countrymusichalloffame.org or by calling (615) 416-2001.