In 1972, the museum acquired the collection of over 14,000 rare phonograph records and radio transcription discs, which doubled the size of the museum’s recorded-sound holdings and set the institution on its path to becoming a premier archive and research center.
Today, the collection contains an estimated 98 percent of all pre-World War II commercial country recordings, in addition to tens of thousands of country recordings released afterwards, all the way up to the present day. With more than 250,000 phonograph cylinders, disc records, tapes, CDs and digital files, it ranks among the world’s largest collections of country music recordings.
The public program at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum will celebrate the museum’s 50-year custodianship of the sound collection, and the immeasurable ways the late Bob Pinson helped curate, preserve and expand the collection as a longtime member of the staff. Moderated by the museum’s Historian-Editor Patrick Huber, the panel discussion will include: University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Audio-Visual Preservation Archivist and folklorist Nathan D. Gibson; past Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts and former CMHOF Director who negotiated the collection’s acquisition, folklorist Bill Ivey; and scholar and discographer Tony Russell, with whom Pinson worked to research and produce the museum’s definitive Country Music Records: A Discography, 1921-1942.
Following the panel, the museum’s longtime Curator of Recorded-Sound Collections, Alan Stoker, will lead a listening session and discuss records from the collection, including several of Pinson’s favorite recordings. The program is included with museum admission, and is free to museum members. Seating is limited, and a program ticket is required for admittance and can be purchased here.