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Benefit Concert Series

23 String Band Live at the Museum on Sept. 26th

The 23 23sb-posterString Band has an energy and virtuoso that dances the line between traditional bluegrass and a progressive sound all their own. It’s no surprise they were one of the most requested bands in our ROMP survey this year, and we are ecstatic to have them at the Museum.
Tickets go on sale Friday, September 5 at Noon CST and will available through the Museum’s website – or by calling the Museum – 270-926-7891.

For tickets, click here.










Music Lessons – Fall 2014

Fall-Lessons-Small-Image Fall Bluegrass Music Lessons begin at the museum on October 25th. Lessons take place every other Saturday morning through December 20th.
Guitar, Fiddle, Banjo and Mandolin Lessons
10:00 – Bluegrass Bootcamp 6-10 yrs.
11:00 – Bluegrass Bootcamp 11 & up
12:00 – Beginner Plus – All Instruments
12:45 – Intermediate – All Instruments
1:30 – Band
All Levels Welcome! Adults welcome. Learn with your child!
Times subject to change.
All classes: $35; Each additional family member: $20
Sign up in the online gift shop
Last Lesson is Saturday December 20.

Les Leverett exhibit

The International Bluegrass Music Museum in downtown Owensboro, Ky is currently hosting an exhibit featuring the work of famed music photographer, Les Leverett.

leverett-mw-bus-webUnveiled during ROMP this past June, the exhibit showcases dozens of incredible photographs taken during Leverett’s long career as a bluegrass music photographer. Over the years, Leverett has secured his reputation as Nashville’s premier music photographer by photographing everything from record album covers to scenes of the Opry backstage. His photo archive is among the most extensive in the business, and his clients range from Life magazine to The Nashville Network, from American Heritage, to the Grand Ole Opry. Yet Leverett has always had a special place in his heart for bluegrass, ever since the days when his office was in the old National Life building, and he stood outside the window of the WSM studio to watch Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs sell Martha White flour. His sense of history, his passion for bluegrass, and his consummate skill with a camera made it only natural that he be honored with an exhibit by the International Bluegrass Music Museum.

Leverett searched through thousands of negatives, proofs and images of his collection to find the photographs which are featured in the exhibit. After creating a list of artists he had documented through the years, he began the process of finding the photographs he wanted to print. The exhibit gave Leverett the opportunity to print pictures he personally enjoyed, a chance he seldom was given as a commercial photographer.

Leverett’s admiration of bluegrass music started at an early age and is still strong in his heart today.

“I just love bluegrass music,” he said. “On Wednesday nights I attend a prayer service and love when the music director pulls out an old bluegrass gospel tune. I really love it.”

There are many “first additions” in the collection as well as other images that may be familiar to bluegrass music fans.

IBMM curator RaShae Jennings expressed the uniqueness of Leverett’s work, “His photographs are quite beautiful, and capture moments that words can’t express. There are lighter moments of the artists backstage, in diners…things you don’t see in the usual pictures of them performing.”

“We tried to avoid a constant stream of bands performing in front of microphones; Les knows better than anyone else that this is only part of the bluegrass scene, and that shots made backstage, at festivals, at recording or radio sessions, eating at roadside restaurants, or talking with fans are as revealing as the more glamorous ones.

Students of motion pictures speak of the “auteur” — the artist who is able to work within the commercial industry and at the same time express his own imagination and vision. There is no better way to define the work of a man whose vision has for over three decades enhanced the dignity and beauty of bluegrass music — Les Leverett.” –Charles K. Wolfe (late Professor of English, music historian, and author of “Grand Ole Opry: The Early Years,” “Tennessee Strings,” “Kentucky Country,” and an abundance of similarly important books, articles, reviews, and notes on music in American Culture.

les-leverett-webAfter being discharged from the Army in 1947, Leverett enrolled in The Texas College of Photographic Art in San Antonio. His interest in photography had been sparked partly because of a pair of Civil War binoculars owned by his father.  Leverett often “borrowed” the lenses from these binoculars and projected self-drawn “comic strips” from his home-made projector onto the bedroom shades.

He began his career working for Associated Photographers in Nashville. Shortly after the business shut down, Leverett started a career as a photographer for National Life and Accident Insurance Company. During this time he fused his career with work for WSM-TV as well as the Grand Ole Opry, which eventually led to his long time work with the Opry which spanned 32 years.

Leverett’s photographs have appeared on hundreds of album covers, in many books, magazines, newspapers and videos. Special honors include a Grammy award for best album cover photography in 1966 for Porter Wagoner’s album, “Confessions of a Broken Man”; and Billboard Magazine’s Best Country Cover award in 1973 for Dolly Parton’s album, “Bubblin’ Over.”

Leverett was inducted into Opryland’s National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences’ “Walkway of Stars” in June, 1994.

For information on viewing this exhibit at the International Bluegrass Music Museum, go to

9th Annual IBMM Mandolin Camp


IBMM’s 9th annual Mandolin Camp, at the Museum in Owensboro, KY, is November 14-15-16, 2014! With Mike Compton continuing as Camp Director, the Bill Monroe banner will still be carried high at this year’s camp, while other faculty members will add different methods of teaching. (Mr. Compton may do so, as well!) The Museum’s goal is to be inclusive of several styles in our 2014 curriculum.



The  IBMM Mandolin camp faculty includes:


Mike ComptonMike Compton

Many know Mike from the Nashville Bluegrass Band, John Hartford Stringband, or as the featured mandolin player on “O Brother, Where Art Thou”. Mike returns as Director of the IBMM Mandolin Camp – his 9th straight year imparting Monroe-style knowledge to mando campers.






Jesse McReynolds

One of the greatest mandolinists of all time, a Bluegrass Hall of Fame member, and constant trend-setter in Bluegrass Music, Jesse joins the IBMM staff to teach his unique style of cross-picking, and provide insights into historical mandolin techniques from a life-time career in music.





Sierra Hull

Band leader Sierra Hull attended Berklee College where she refined the skills she now teaches to others. Sierra has traditional bluegrass sensibility and skill that defies her age. Already having presented numerous mandolin workshops alone and with other mandolin virtuosos, Sierra brings a youthful slant to bluegrass mandolin applauded by veterans as well.






Don Stiernburg

While still in his teens, Don learned to play the mandolin from the innovative virtuoso Jethro Burns, who guided him into a lifelong career in music. A leading exponent of jazz mandolin style and band leader of the Don Stiernberg Trio, Don has eight personal recordings, and appears on others by a variety of artists in all styles.



Dominick Leslie

Dominick Leslie

Whether writing a new piece, learning a tune or performing with his confreres, Dominick has an infectious love of music that inspires others to excel with the same passion.

Dominick has performed the last three years at ROMP and given mandolin workshops each year that have been highly regarded by all attendees.






Will Kimble

Born in 1969, luthier Will Kimble fell in love with mandolins in 1997, and began building in 2000. His father, Fred Kimble, taught Will how to build and still works with him to this day.   A favorite at IBMM camp, Will continues to provide mandolin repair, advice, and construction and care sessions at mando camp.

New performers are imparting their own footprints on bluegrass. Stay tuned (all 8 strings, please) for news of other mando camp news to be announced…

  • Prices:  
  • Registration includes: All three days of classes,  meals (Friday dinner, Saturday lunch), Lodging for two nights (Friday and Saturday – discounted rates for additional lodging nights if desired), free admission to All-Star Faculty concert and reception Saturday night, and camp T-shirt!
  • Online mando camp registration is now available.
  • For More information see the Mando Camp info page

ROMPfest 2014 – info and news articles


Support the International Bluegrass Music Museum and have a wonderful weekend June 25-28 at beautiful Yellow Creek Park in Owensboro!

Go to for line-up, camping info and tickets.

Owensboro Messenger-Inquirer ROMP articles:

(Thanks to M&I for opening these articles about ROMP up to the public – no subscription required)


Special Section

Thursday: Jam session with legends leaves pickers exhilarated

Thursday: Campers are ready to ROMP

Thursday: Owensboro hosts 30th bluegrass festival this week

Friday: A laid-back affair

Saturday: Skaggs, fans love old-time bluegrass

Sunday: Stellar lineup, atmosphere lead to ROMPing good time

Tuesday July 1: ROMP crowd likely topped 20,000 for third year

Tuesday July 1: The People of ROMP (video)

Related articles requiring a M&I subscription:

Friday: Music trail in Owensboro’s future?

Saturday: Bluegrass center final design unveiled

Sunday: Owensboro to be musical side trip



Hours of Operation

Regular hours:
Tuesday - Saturday
10am-5:00pm CST
1pm -4pm CST

Closed on Mondays
However, if you are traveling & can only visit the museum on a Monday, give us a call at 270-926-7891. We're in the office and we'll let you in!

Memorial Day, July 4, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's Day.


Museum members always get in free
Adults / Seniors: $5
Students: $2
Children under age 6: free
Group Rates: Call 270-926-7891
Special pricing & event packages are available for tours or groups.
Call 270-926-7891 to arrange a unique trip, live performance, or guided tour:

Enjoy the Museum!

888-MY BANJO (toll-free)

Museum Entrance
117 Daviess Street
Owensboro, KY 42303
between the Ohio River & 2nd Street

Mailing Address
International Bluegrass Music Museum
207 East Second Street
Owensboro, KY 42303

Facility Rentals
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email Chris Langdon

Gift Shop Manager
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email Beth Tibbitts