Birthplace of Country Music Museum

AV Technology Helps Celebrate Country Music’s Roots
Bristol, TN

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The Birthplace of Country Music Museum, an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution, celebrates the 1927 Bristol Sessions with exhibits featuring audio and video systems provided by Electrosonic. The historic sessions featured nineteen performers raising their voices in song, and marked the commercial debuts of the legendary Jimmie Rodgers and the Carter family. Located in Bristol, Tennessee, the 24,000-square foot museum uses multiple theater experiences, interactives and artifact displays, to tell the story of these historic sessions.

Orientation Theater

In the Orientation Theater, visitors hear associated sound effects and historic music clips through activated sound panels built into the walls of the holding area while they wait to gain admittance. The Greasy Strings Theater displays a looped video exploring the philosophy and musical techniques behind the sessions. The Chapel has a few church pews where visitors can watch a video about local gospel groups. The Orientation Theater, Greasy Strings and the Chapel have projection surfaces painted on their walls, and are outfitted with projectors and speakers.

Chapel

The Immersion Theater focuses on making visitors part of the unbroken circle of country music and displays clips of different artists performing “Will the Circle Be Unbroken.” It has a custom perforated, curved screen, three blended projectors, a video server, speakers and subs.

The Birthplace of Country Music

Throughout the museum, a number of interactives equipped with 32-inch touch screens engage visitors in various aspects of the Bristol Sessions. Four “Mixing Stations” allow them to change the mix on assorted tracks from the sessions. Two “Bristol Remastered” interactives, with focused beam speakers, showcase a number of session tunes covered by contemporary artists. An interactive recording booth invites visitors to sing along in their own version of the famous Bristol Sessions, and “Send a Postcard” lets them email a digital postcard to family and friends. The museum has also provided space for a working internal radio station, which features a vintage radio control room and studio. Electrosonic provided the interactive outside the windows where visitors can tune into four pre-recorded radio shows.

Mixing Stations

Electrosonic built three control rooms on the second floor of the museum, which are connected with a fiber network. Empty racks have been provided to accommodate future expansion.

Birthplace of Country Music

Dr. Jessica Turner, the museum’s director and head curator, concluded, “It was important to us, as a music museum, to have the highest quality sound and media experiences. This is exactly what the group from Electrosonic delivered. I was impressed that the whole team worked with us to troubleshoot problems to find innovative solutions, often going above and beyond to provide expertise and professionalism.”

Electrosonic was brought on board by Hillmann & Carr, and Electrosonic’s Design Consulting team worked with Joseph Nicholson of studioMUSarx on the initial exhibit design. Steve Haas, president of SH Acoustics, served as the acoustic and audio consultant to Electrosonic and was a key contributor to the project’s audio design and calibration, resolving acoustically challenging hard surfaces and creating the highest quality sound experience for visitors. Burwil was the general contractor for the museum.

Birthplace of Country Music