Real Folk: Passing on Trades and Traditions of the Virginia Folklife Apprenticeship Program – Exhibition

March 6 - August 2

Birthplace of Country Music Museum

101 Country Music Way Bristol, VA 24201

The Birthplace of Country Music Museum is temporarily closed to the public from Monday, March 16, 2020, through Monday, March 30, 2020.

Since 2002, the Virginia Folklife Apprenticeship Program at Virginia Humanities has brought together more than 130 experienced master artists and eager apprentices, ensuring various art forms are passed on in ways that are conscious of history and faithful to tradition. All forms of Virginia’s expressive culture—from the Appalachian hills and the Chesapeake shore to new immigrant traditions brought to the state—are represented, including letterpress printing, mandolin making, African-American gospel singing, quilting, old-time banjo playing, Mexican folk dancing, classical Iranian and Persian music, broom making, and more. The master artists comprise some of Virginia’s most celebrated practitioners of folk traditions both old and new to Virginia, and the apprentices learn their chosen craft not in classrooms or lecture halls, but in their traditional contexts, such as local dance halls, churches, woodshops, stables, and garages—making the passing on of these crafts even more meaningful.

REAL FOLK gives viewers an inside look at these traditions and the people who are keeping them alive, helping to ensure that Virginia’s treasured folkways remain in good keeping for years to come.

This exhibit, on display at the Birthplace of Country Music Museum March 6—August 2, 2020, is produced through a partnership between the museum and the Virginia Folklife Program at Virginia Humanities.

The Birthplace of Country Music Museum, an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution, tells the story of the 1927 Bristol Sessions recordings, explores how evolving sound technology shaped their success, and highlights how this rich musical heritage lives on in today’s music. Through text and artifacts, multiple theater experiences, and interactive displays – along with a variety of educational programs, music performances, and community events – the exciting story of these recording sessions and their far-reaching influence comes alive. Rotating exhibitions from guest curators and other institutions, including the Smithsonian, are featured throughout the year in the Special Exhibits Gallery. The museum also houses a collection of related objects, photographs and paper ephemera, and digital items.

Museum Hours:

Tuesday—Saturday, 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Sunday, 1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Closed Mondays