How to Donate Items for Our Collection
A variety of artifacts and images on display and in the Birthplace of Country Music Museum’s collections were acquired from members of our community and beyond. If you have an item that you wish to donate, please read carefully the list below to determine whether or not the item meets our requirements and scope of collections.
NOTE: Donations that come with stipulations about the length, frequency, or location of their display in the museum or any other caveat about the item’s use, display, or disposal are rarely accepted.
Items that we are particularly interested in acquiring include:
- Items relating directly to the Bristol Sessions or early country/hillbilly music, including recording materials, photographs, documents, artifacts such as instruments or clothing, and sound recordings.
- Interviews (audio and/or video) with country music musicians and country music recordings.
- Instruments similar to those that may have been used in the Bristol Sessions.
- Limited-run country and bluegrass recordings as well as limited release local and regional compilations, particularly those that have gone out-of-print.
- Periodicals and books on country and bluegrass that are no longer in publication.
- Items relating to country music radio particularly in the Bristol area or in the upper southeast. Items from WOPI and WCYB in Bristol are of particular interest.
- Items related to early sound recording and reproduction (sound recording and playback devices, early sound recordings (1890s—1910s)).
- Items that complement our large existing holdings of Tennessee Ernie Ford sheet music, documents, photographs, recordings, and memorabilia.
- We also selectively collect early jazz, blues and popular music recordings, as well as items relating to gospel music in the upper southeast.
- Instruments, clothing, artifacts, photographs, and ephemera that do not relate to the above categories may still be considered for inclusion in our collections if they are of exceptional importance and cultural value.
Items that we are not interested in:
- General record collections of post-1960s music that are unrelated to country, bluegrass, and old-time in the upper southeast.
- Record players that are in non-working condition, unless there is some overriding cultural or historic value.
- Drawings, paintings, or other country music artwork, unless there is some overriding cultural or historic value.
- Small collections of newspaper clippings or scrapbooks, though large collections that follow the work of a single artist may be considered.
- Recordings made after the 1940s that are poorly preserved (excessively dirty, scratched, or worn), or which are missing original packaging, unless there is some overriding cultural or historic value.
If you have read all of the above and have determined that your artifact or collection may be of interest
to the Birthplace of Country Music Museum, or if you have questions, please contact us via email at
firstname.lastname@example.org and include the phrase “Artifact Donation Inquiry” in the subject
Please include a detailed list of item(s) you wish to donate along with photographs, if you have them. If
accepted for the museum’s permanent collection, your donation will be cared for according to the best
archival standards that the museum can reasonably accommodate. We reserve the right to refuse
donations of items that do not relate to our mission or of items that we are not able to care for well.