Thursday, October 13, 2011

Bluegrass museum wins award

By Keith Lawrence, Messenger-Inquirer
Published: Tuesday, October 11, 2011 12:11 AM CDT

The International Bluegrass Music Museum has won a Kentucky History Award for education for its William Smith “Bill” Monroe Centennial Exhibit, which opened in September 2010.

“This is our first award for an exhibit,” Gabrielle Gray, the museum’s executive director, said Monday. “I’m really proud of our exhibit staff for the work they’ve done and the contributions of the Blue Grass Boys and the pioneers who made this possible.”

The opening of the exhibit began a year-long countdown to the Sept. 13, 2011, centennial of Monroe’s birth in Ohio County.

It drew people from Brazil, Canada and Europe.

The exhibit includes one of Monroe’s stage suits, a brown Stetson hat and a tie that he pulled off with the Windsor knot intact; the fiddle of his uncle, Pendleton Vandiver, who Monroe immortalized in the song “Uncle Pen”; the headstock veneer from Monroe’s 1923 F-5 Lloyd Loar mandolin;

and Monroe’s 1964 Gibson mandolin.

There are pictures of Monroe and his family through various stages of his life, including performances at the White House.

And there are showbills, record albums, album covers and the statue that was presented posthumously when Monroe was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1997.

The award from the Kentucky Historical Society will be presented in Frankfort on Nov. 11.

“We spent so much of the past decade on building the reputation of the museum,” Gray said. “Now, we’re really focused on becoming a first-rate historical entity. There’s still a big mountain to climb, but we have a full curatorial staff now.”

Forrest Roberts is the museum’s curator.

Keith Lawrence, 691-7301,