The museum’s director and head curator, Jessica Turner, describes the Hope’s products as “stunning” and says they restored the two-level, 24,000 sq. ft. building to its “former glory.”
Bristol, VA and its companion city of the same name, Bristol, TN straddle the Virginia-Tennessee border and share the distinction of being the birthplace of country music. The new museum showcases what is sometimes referred to as the “Big Bang” of country music: the 1927 Bristol Sessions, the first commercially successful recordings of country music.
Johnny Cash called the Bristol Sessions “the single most important event in the history of country music.” They introduced a number of prominent country music artists to the world, including the Carter Family, Jimmie Rodgers, and Ernest Stoneman. The Library of Congress formally recognized the Bristol Sessions as one of the 50 most significant recording events of all time.
The Birthplace of Country Music Museum, an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution, features a wide variety of technology-infused experiences, including multiple theaters, interactive displays, listening stations, and music programs – as well as artifacts, educational programs, and traveling exhibits from the Smithsonian.
Located in Historic Downtown Bristol, the new museum’s building has been home to a number of different businesses, starting with a car dealership in 1920, but fell into dilapidation many years ago. The planning, fund-raising and restoration work took more than a decade.
“The Hope’s windows were one of the first components to go in,” says Turner. “At that point, we instantly knew this project was destined to succeed. The Hope’s windows give the building such character that would have been missing if windows of a lesser quality had been chosen.”
Architects Peyton Boyd and Michael Haslam of Peyton Boyd Architect PC (located in Abingdon, VA) worked with Hope’s to specify the Hope’s University Series solid steel windows – steel window profiles designed specifically for projects requiring historic replication of exterior putty glazed steel windows.
“Because this was a historic tax credits project and because everyone wanted to see the exterior of this building restored to its former self, it was essential to select a window product with historically appropriate profiles to its frames,” says Boyd. “We always design with energy efficiency in mind and so we love that Hope’s products feature frames and mullions and applied muntins that are handled in a way that delivers the performance we expect of our windows and doors today within low-profiles that look at home in a historic structure such as this.”
The Hope’s 5000 Series steel doors are formed from heavy-gauge steel and offer the greatest latitude for customization.
The overall project price tag was $13 million, but Turner says that substantial funding has supported the project, including grants from the Appalachian Regional Commission and Virginia Tobacco Commission, state and federal historic tax credits, new market tax credits, a $500,000 appropriation from the state of Tennessee, and private donations. The museum is the offspring of the Birthplace of Country Music, headquartered in Bristol, TN.
Photos: Fresh Air Photo