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Hall of Fame museum gets ready for 50th Festival

One of the Country Music Capital’s significant heritage assets, the Australian Country Music Hall of Fame, is about to undergo a renovation and refresh so it’s ready to take centre stage during next year’s 50th Tamworth Country Music Festival.

The priceless collection which tells the rich story of the country music in Australia will be refreshed with some reworking of displays and exhibits while the iconic guitar-shaped building will undergo some minor renovations.

The works will unfortunately mean the museum will be temporarily closed to the public from 4pm on Friday, 6 August for several weeks.

Director Tamworth Regional Gallery and Museums, Bridget Guthrie, said the temporary closure takes advantage of the current reduced visitor numbers related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We have been planning for some time to carry out an exhibition refresh and minor renovations before the 50th Festival in January next year,” she said. “Now is clearly the right time to do it because it seems the current wave of COVID-19 in Sydney and Brisbane has led to reduced numbers of visitors stopping off.”

The minor renovation will include the reinstatement of the main entry using the large doors facing Peel Street and a new reception desk inside to welcome visitors.

Australian Country Music Foundation chair Eric Scott said volunteers who staff the museum support the planned works and the temporary closure.

“History shows us that ‘ït is an ill wind that blows nobody any good’ and there is no doubt that the COVID-19 virus is certainly just that,” he said.

“However, the volunteers at the Australian Country Music Hall of Fame are challenging this determined virus by continuing to work behind closed doors to create some display changes, updating and refreshing the fascinating story we have to tell of the past 90 years’ development of country music in Australia and New Zealand.

“There is much to add, and much to see – we are looking forward to when the museum’s doors reopen to visitors.”

Last year the Australian Country Music Foundation gifted the Hall of Fame museum collection to Tamworth Regional Council.

“Council was entrusted with the collection gathered over 25 years of work by the volunteers of the Australian Country Music Foundation – part of that was a commitment to preserve and enhance it for future generations,” said Ms Guthrie. “This exhibition refresh and minor renovation is part of Council’s plan to do that.”

The museum will reopen by appointment for groups of more than 10 people during the closure period. To enquire about bookings, call 0408 660 749.