On This Day: The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum Opens in Nashville in 1967

by Emily Morgan

Today, fifty-four years ago today, marked a monumental moment in country music history. On Apr. 1, 1967, the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum officially opened its doors in Nashville.

However, six earlier, the Country Music Association (CMA) established the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1961. The planners behind the hall of fame spent six years crafting and constructing the museum before it officially opened in Music City.

After opening day, the museum quickly became a popular spot for tourists as well as locals. There, people of all generations and backgrounds could appreciate the legacy that country music gave to the world. People could surround themselves with items from their favorite country music artists. Inside, people could get up close and personal with photographs, instruments, documents— all related to the genre.

Today, however, it’s found a new home. After the more country music artifacts found their place in the museum, they tried to expand the museum to compensate for all the items. Later, the museum relocated to a larger building.

In 2000, the hall of fame relocated from their 16th avenue location to downtown Nashville to 222 5th Ave. South. The museum garnered an additional 130,000 square feet of space with the move, giving it plenty of room to add to its collection.

Tragedy Floods the County Music Hall of Fame

Tragically, ten years after the move, disaster struck. In 2010, a flood damaged the Hall of Fame when water surged into the museum’s mechanical room. The flood also did some damage to the Hall of Fame’s Ford Theater. Despite the unfortunate events, the museum triumphed. After re-opening, the museum realized it needed more space to accommodate the country music pieces.

In 2014, the museum expanded once again. This time, it had a staggering 350,000 square feet to work with— giving curators more than 10,000 additional feet of exhibit space. It also provided extra event and retail space and more archives, and a library room.

It’s a well-known fact that if the Hall of Fame inducts you into the museum, you’ve officially made it in country music. As one of the most prestigious honors, it’s not easy to land a coveted spot. If you’re hoping to get inducted yourself, you’ll be going up against some heavy-hitters in the industry.

On Nov. 3, 1961, the museum posthumously inducted country legends such as Jimmie Rodgers, Fred Rose, and Hank Williams were in the Hall of Fame’s first batch of inductees.

More country music artists have been inducted in the years following, including Randy Travis, Ray Price, Conway Twitty, Vince Gill, Waylon Jennings, the Oak Ridge Boys, George Strait, Dolly Parton, and Johnny Cash, among others.