In 1927, Ralph Peer, a record producer for Victor Talking Machine Company, traveled to Bristol, Tennessee-Virginia and set up a portable recording studio in a building on State Street. Over the course of two weeks, Peer recorded 76 songs by 19 different acts, including Ernest V. Stoneman, The Carter Family, and Jimmie Rodgers. Located in Historic Downtown Bristol, the 24,000-square foot Birthplace of Country Music Museum, an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution, tells the story of the 1927 Bristol Sessions, explores how sound technology shaped their success and evolved, and highlights how these early recordings impacted – and continue to impact – American music.
Through a variety of exhibits, including interactive displays, film and audio experiences, and historical objects, visitors gain a greater understanding of the significant role of Bristol in music history. The museum regularly presents educational programs, concerts, jam sessions, film screenings, and lectures and workshops. It is also home to an extensive digital archive and features rotating special exhibits further exploring the deep roots of American music, along with a variety of other subjects.