CMHoF To License Historical Photos With Getty

A young Brenda Lee performs in Nashville’s Centennial Park. Photo: CMHoF/Elmer Williams Collection

A young Brenda Lee performs in Nashville’s Centennial Park. Photo: CMHoF/Elmer Williams Collection

In an effort to raise money for the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum‘s ongoing digitization efforts, the Nashville museum has partnered with Getty Images to make images from its archives available for global licensing.

The museum’s Elmer Williams Collection launches the collaboration, with 3,000 images, most previously unpublished. From 1952-62, Williams was one of the busiest country music photographers in Nashville, using his Busch Pressman 4×5 inch camera to capture candid photos at music industry events and backstage at the Grand Ole Opry.

This is the first collaboration of its kind for the museum, which is dedicated to preserving and teaching the evolving history of country music.

“The Elmer Williams Collection offers a right-place, right-time view into the sweet spot of country music’s classic period from the early ’50s to the early ’60s,” said museum CEO Kyle Young. “The photos were added to the museum’s collection in the 1990s, and we’re excited to finally share these images as part of an ongoing effort to provide access to the unduplicated collection and to fund the museum’s massive archival digitization project.”

Minnie Pearl performs on the Grand Ole Opry. Photo: CMHoF/Elmer Williams Collection

Minnie Pearl performs on the Grand Ole Opry. Photo: CMHoF/Elmer Williams Collection

The digitization project was kick-started by over $600,000 in grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, Institute of Museum and Library Services and the GRAMMY Foundation, among others. This funding allows five full-time staff members to work on the analog-to-digital conversion, creating preservation and access files and metadata to create an online searchable database for scholars. The project aims to digitize more than 100,000 items in the collection by 2024.

The CMHoF’s Elmer Williams Collection is available can be viewed here.

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Eric T. Parker oversees operations and contributes editorial for MusicRow's print magazine, MusicRow.com, the RowFax tip sheet and the MusicRow CountryBreakout chart. He also facilitates annual events for the enterprise, including MusicRow Awards, CountryBreakout Awards and the Rising Women on the Row. [email protected] @EricTParker

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