Hall of Fame Shares Expansion Details at Fundraising Launch

Pictured at today's event. (L-R): Museum Director Kyle Young, Nashville Mayor Karl Dean, Ford Motor Company Executive Chairman Bill Ford and Steve Turner, chairman of the museum's Board of Officers and Trustees. Photo: Donn Jones

The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum this morning (7/28) launched a capital campaign to fund an expansion that will more than double the size of the current facility, as well as offer Nashville a new performance venue.

“This is an unbelievable moment in the history of this museum and in the history of Nashville,” said Hall of Fame Board Chairman Steve Turner. “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.”

Ricky Skaggs. Photo: Sherod Robertson

Due for completion in spring 2014, the expansion will triple the current exhibit space, include an 800 seat theater, and offer an educational center with children’s gallery, classrooms and recording studio. It will be connected to the Omni on three levels. Tuck Hinton Architects, who built the magnificent current building, are returning for the expansion.

“Since the Museum opened in 2001, it has become one of Nashville’s signature cultural assets and a key economic engine,” said Mayor Dean. “This [expansion] commitment is valued at over $30 million, which the Museum will return to city coffers through a long-term lease agreement.”

Today’s event marked the beginning of the public phase of the $75 million fundraising initiative called “Working on a Building: Country Music Lives Here Campaign.” Thanks to generous donations by Nashville and nationwide power brokers, many of whom gathered today, $56.8 million was raised during the campaign’s silent phase. More than $48 million of that comes from donors who contributed $1 million or more, including a lead gift of $6.5 million from Steve and Judy Turner.

Alan Jackson. Photo: Sherod Robertson

Among those celebrating the success thus far and championing the project’s next phase was Ford Motor Co. executive chairman Bill Ford, whose family name brands the theater where today’s assembly took place. He is serving as honorary co-chair of the campaign with Kris Kristofferson.

An event at the Country Music Hall of Fame wouldn’t be complete without music. In keeping with the campaign’s mantra, Ricky Skaggs kicked things off with Bill Monroe’s bluegrass breakdown “Working On A Building.” Buddy Spicher kept the mood lively with a fiddle jam. Alan Jackson performed “You’ve Been Lonesome, Too,” a song partially written by Hank Williams and completed by Jackson, which will be on an Oct. 4 release called The Lost Notebooks of Hank Williams (Egyptian Records/CMF Records/Columbia Records). Then Jackson closed with his classic “Chattahoochee,” chuckling as he encouraged Mayor Dean to get up and dance.

Dean proudly told Bill Ford that he has been driving a Ford Mustang for 12 years. He wasn’t the only one, Jackson and Lynn Anderson also shared that they are loyal Ford owners.

Besides Ford and Kristofferson, the capital campaign committee also includes Earl Bentz, Mark Bloom, Bill Denny, Mike Dungan, Rod Essig, Vince Gill, Randy Goodman, Keel Hunt, Ken Levitan, Brian O’Connell, Ken Roberts, John Seigenthaler, Steve Turner, Ernie Williams and Jody Williams.

Rendering of CMHoF expansion, as seen from 4th Ave.

Theater rendering

Event Hall rendering



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Sarah Skates has worked in the music business for more than a decade and is a longtime contributor to MusicRow.

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