Mother Maybelle Carter’s guitar and a vintage WSM microphone that belonged to Roy Acuff will be carried into their new home by some of the biggest legends in country music during grand opening ceremonies for the Country Music Hall of Fame.
The $37 million museum will open May 17 with great fanfare, including red carpet arrivals, music, tributes and a public ribbon-cutting ceremony at 9 a.m. CT in front of the Hall of Fame, located in downtown Nashville.
Hall of Fame members Kitty Wells, Charley Pride, Brenda Lee, Little Jimmy Dickens, George Jones, Earl Scruggs, Roy Horton, E.W. "Bud" Wendell and Jo Walker-Meador ceremoniously will carry in Mother Maybelle’s Gibson L-5 guitar, the last artifact to go into the museum before it opens.
More than 20 Grand Ole Opry stars will bring in the WSM microphone, including Emmylou Harris, Ralph Stanley, Trisha Yearwood, Vince Gill, Martina McBride, Marty Stuart, Brad Paisley, Ricky Skaggs, Bill Anderson, Jimmy C. Newman, Joe Diffie, Riders in the Sky, Charlie Louvin, Porter Wagoner, Steve Gatlin, Hal Ketchum, Mel McDaniel, Hank Locklin, Stu Phillips, Del Reeves, Billy Walker and Charlie Walker.
Jones, Scruggs, Stuart, Gill, Wendell, Pride and Wells will be among those performing or speaking during the morning ceremonies. Tennessee Gov. Don Sundquist, Nashville Mayor Bill Purcell, Hall of Fame Director Kyle Young, MCA Records Nashville chief Bruce Hinton (chairman of the Hall of Fame’s Board of Trustees) and gospel singer Vestal Goodman will participate in the ceremony.
Former Hall of Fame Director Bill Ivey, who was chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts from 1998 until May of this year, and Vice Adm. William P. Lawrence also will deliver speeches.
Led by Otha Turner’s Fife and Drum Band, the limousine procession of the Hall of Fame members will originate at the original museum on Music Row and travel down Demonbreun Street to the new building.
Beginning at 11:30 a.m. CT on May 17, museum admission will be free and open to the public. Information about street closings and timed admission tickets will be released soon.