Birthplace of Country Music Museum reopens

J. H. Osborne • Jun 11, 2020 at 9:00 AM

Bristol, Va. — The Birthplace of Country Music Museum, a Smithsonian affiliate, plans to reopen its doors on Thursday, June 11. It has been closed for nearly three months due to the threat of COVID-19.

In addition, the Birthplace of Country Music (parent nonprofit organization of the museum, the Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion music festival, and WBCM Radio Bristol) announced on Tuesday it will launch its second annual Bristol Sessions Super Raffle to help ease the financial burden placed on the organization since the museum's closure.

"The museum has been closed since March 16 so we are glad to see this day come," said BCM Executive Director Leah Ross. "Through it all we are very fortunate that we were able to keep our entire staff in place, most of them working from home. We worked hard to keep the public engaged online during the quarantine, but like many attractions we have lost income from museum visitation and ticketed events. We are thrilled to be able to welcome visitors to the museum again — with enhanced safety guidelines in place."

Re-opening the museum is an important step in helping the nonprofit get back on its feet after the closure, Ross said.

"Fundraising and development, especially during times of crisis, are crucial to our organization," said Ross. "With loss of revenue from the museum closure and the added uncertainty of live, ticketed events, we need our next raffle event to be a success."

Free museum admission will be offered to healthcare workers and one guest of their choice through August 30, 2020 as a "thank you" for their service to the community during the COVID-19 health crisis.

If you go

A list of safety protocols, in accordance with guidelines issued by the state of Virginia, include:

• Visitors, staff and volunteers must wear face masks.

• Only 100 people will be allowed in the museum at one time (including staff and volunteers).

• Health checks of museum staff will be provided daily prior to each shift.

• Hand sanitizer will be issued to patrons who do not bring their own (the size of the container will depend on the size of your group).

• Gloves will be worn by staff and volunteers at all times.

• Social distancing guidelines will be followed and enforced.

• Styluses will be issued to guests for use on all interactive touch screens.

• Cleaning of exhibits and other areas will be performed every two hours.

• Traffic flow will be monitored at all times in order to maintain social distancing.

• Visitors are encouraged to purchase tickets online prior to their visit, but tickets may also be purchased at the front desk.

• Guests will be asked to provide their names and email addresses for the purpose of contact tracing.

• If you have a fever or may be exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19, or have been exposed to someone with symptoms within a two-week period, please plan to reschedule your visit for another date.

"We want our visitors to know their health and safety is of the highest priority to us so they can enjoy their experience with less worry," said Dr. Rene Rodgers, Head Curator at the museum.

The raffle

The Bristol Sessions Super Raffle proved to be a major fundraiser for BCM last year, Ross said, as winners walked away with more than $250,000 in cash and big-ticket prizes. This year's Raffle will do the same, and tickets are on sale now for $100 each. Each ticket gives participants two chances to win items such as a 2020 Ford Mustang, a 2020 Toyota Tacoma SR 4x4, an all-inclusive 7-day vacation to a Sandals Resort in Jamaica for two, and much, much more. The drawing will be held on Sunday, September 13 from noon until 4:00 p.m. Participants do not have to be present to win. Tickets can be purchased at BristolSessionsSuperRaffle.org.

For more detailed information on museum health and safety guidelines and hours, visit BirthplaceOfCountryMusic.org. To learn more about the Bristol Sessions Super Raffle, visit BristolSessionsSuperRaffle.org.

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