Permanent Exhibits

The museum currently has 22,000 square feet of developed exhibit and office space. 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:

Hall of Fame

The International Bluegrass Music Museum houses the International Bluegrass Music Association’s IBMA Bluegrass Hall of Fame, devoted to the recognition of noteworthy individuals for their outstanding contributions to bluegrass music. Founded in 1991, the Hall of Fame 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.

Pete Seeger’s Banjo

Donated to this museum by Museum Trustee Carl Pagter of California, the banjo was added to our permanent exhibits after Mr. Seeger performed with it during his Video Oral History interview in Beacon, New York, December 2006. You can listen to Pete playing the banjo, singing, and–as always–promoting peace through music.

Uncle Pen’s Fiddle

Originally part of the Bill Monroe Centennial Exhibit, Uncle Pen’s fiddle has been installed as a permanent display on the second floor of the museum. For more details see Uncle Pen’s Fiddle Exhibit.

The museum presents several new exhibits annually in November and in June.  See ourCurrent Exhibits page. Openings coincide with the annual Members Night at the Museum in November and Opening Night of ROMP – the museum’s signature festival – in June.