This morning at The Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum, Alan Jackson, Ricky Skaggs and fiddle legend Buddy Spicher kicked off the Working on a Building: Country Music Lives Here campaign, which also featured Mayor Karl Dean and Ford Motor Company Executive Chairman Bill Ford.
A full house of artists, music industry execs and Ford Motor Company representatives gathered in the Ford Theater to discuss the Hall of Fame expansion. How big will the new Hall of Fame be? With the new addition, the museum will double in size, from 140,000 square feet, to more than 350,000 square feet, tripling the existing exhibit space and adding additional archival storage, an 800-seat theater and a new educational center.
“This is an unbelievable moment in the history of this museum and in the history of Nashville,” said Steve Turner, chairman of the museum’s Board of Officers and Trustees. “The campaign will finance a 200,000-square-foot museum expansion that will connect – structurally and financially – with the Omni Nashville convention hotel. This is [an] unprecedented public-private partnership made possible by the vision and stewardship of Mayor Karl Dean.”
Ford Motor Company Executive Chairman Bill Ford, who, along with Country Music Hall of Fame member Kris Kristofferson, serves as honorary co-chair of the campaign, talked about his company’s entwined history with country music. “Many of our customers today, particularly our truck owners, are fans of country music, just like my great-grandfather,” said Ford. “Country music is part of Ford’s heritage, and we are pleased to support the museum’s efforts to promote this uniquely American form of music.”
During the silent phase of the capital campaign, which is titled Working on a Building: Country Music Lives Here, $56.8 million in cash and pledges were secured. More than $48 million of the total comes from donors who have contributed $1 million or more, including a lead gift of $6.5 million from Steve and Judy Turner. Other donors of $1 million or more who were publicly announced at the ceremony included the Frist Foundation, the Ingram Charitable Fund, Inc. and the Andrea Waitt Carlton Family Foundation.
The expansion, due to be completed in Spring 2014, will increase the museum’s size from 140,000 square feet to more than 350,000 square feet. The new building will feature an educational center that includes a children’s gallery, classroom spaces and a recording studio; additional exhibit gallery and archival storage spaces; an 800-seat theater; an expanded retail site that includes Hatch Show Print; and much more. The expanded museum will be integrated into a downtown campus with the Music City Center and the Omni Hotel; the museum’s six-floor addition will unite the museum and the Omni Hotel on three levels, allowing the two entities to share space and facilitate visitors’ movements throughout the campus.
This morning’s ceremony was aptly kicked off with Ricky Skaggs’ performance of “I’m Working on a Building.” Following Ford’s remarks, fiddler Buddy Spicher and his band performed “Soldier’s Joy.” The ceremony concluded with a performance from superstar Alan Jackson. Alan sang “You’ve Been Lonesome, Too,” a song partially written by Hank Williams and completed by Alan, which is featured on the forthcoming CD The Lost Notebooks of Hank Williams (October 4, Egyptian Records/CMF Records/Columbia Records); he also performed “Chattahoochee.”
For more on the expansion campaign, visit The Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum’s official website.