The museum currently has 22,000 square feet of developed exhibit and office space; plans are underway to renovate its remaining 11,000 square feet (the museum’s third floor), with the plan being to move the offices upstairs and develop existing office space into new exhibits.
The International Bluegrass Music Museum has both permanent and changing exhibits focusing on the bluegrass community, its festivals, concerts and events.
Included in the museum’s permanent collection are:
The International Bluegrass Music Museum houses the International Bluegrass Music Association’s (IBMA) Hall of Honor. IBMA’s Hall of Honor is an institution devoted to the recognition of noteworthy individuals for their outstanding contributions to bluegrass music. Founded in 1991, the Hall of Honor is the bluegrass music industry's tribute to the pioneers of the music and the people who have made it great.
Big Mon. Located on the first floor of the museum, this exhibit tells the story of Bill Monroe, the Father of Bluegrass Music. In addition to items from his estate, you can learn about Monroe’s early years and how he came to create this music.
The Timeline of Bluegrass Music. This exhibit is located above the showcase of historically significant bluegrass instruments on the second floor. The timeline follows the roots of bluegrass music, from the Scots-Irish string bands to camp meetings and gospel quartets, through fiddling conventions, the jazz era, and the folk music revival.
The Instruments. There are a variety of instruments available for viewing throughout the museum, including a showcase of historically significant instruments and the luthiers who crafted them. There are also instruments available for careful handling, which are located on the “main stage” on the first floor of the museum.
The Café. Used as gig space with a great hardwood floor for cloggers, the café is a replica from the 1950s and includes a jukebox featuring traditional and contemporary bluegrass songs.
The changing exhibits annually rotate with the start of ROMP - the museum’s signature festival-each year. ROMP, or River of Music Party, takes place the 4th weekend of each June at the Museum and Yellow Creek Park in beautiful Owensboro, Kentucky. Presenting photographers have included Les Leverett, Ron Petronko, Stephanie P. Ledgin, Phil Zimmerman and Carl Fleischhauer. Click here to visit our current exhibits.