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New Country Hall Of Fame To Celebrate With Block Party

Kitty Wells, Deana Carter, Raul Malo among the entertainers appearing.

NASHVILLE — Country stars from past and present will come out in force June 15 for an evening of dancing under the stars to begin celebrating the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum's impending move to a new headquarters.

The museum and its voluminous archives and the Country Music Foundation, which long ago outgrew its Music Row building, will move next spring into a spacious new headquarters downtown and will celebrate with events over the next months.

"We'll have dancing under the stars to great country music," said Country Music Foundation director Kyle Young, referring to a block party June 15 near the new museum. "BR5-49 have agreed to be the house band for the other artists for the evening."

Performers at this Nashville Skyline Jamboree, as it's being called, will include Country Music Hall of Fame members Kitty Wells and Brenda Lee, veteran Johnny Wright, Mavericks lead singer Raul Malo, Deana Carter, Dean Miller and others to be announced.

The event will be included with Fan Fair ticket registration and will be broadcast live on radio station WSM-AM in Nashville. Young said the location, which will be the parking lot for the new museum, will be decorated like the midway of a country carnival.

Young said the CMF staff will gradually begin moving files, exhibits, records, tapes and the like into the new 105,000-square-foot building in the next months, with cars — including an Elvis Presley Cadillac convertible and Webb Pierce's famous silver-dollar-studded Bonneville convertible — going first, so their rooms can be built around them.

Operated by the Country Music Foundation, the Hall of Fame and Museum is a tourist destination, the visual home of country music and the archival repository of country's history. Together, the hall of fame and the CMF library have more than 1 million items in permanent collections.

Only about 1 percent of library items has been displayed at one time in the facility, Young said. Much of the permanent collection is in vaults under the current museum and in a warehouse.

Ralph Applebaum Associates is planning and designing the museum space. Its previous projects include the Ellis Island Immigration Museum, the Whitney Museum and the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C.

The CMF, founded in 1967, has developed into the largest research center in the world dedicated to a single form of American music. Among its operations are the Hall of Fame and Museum; the Country Music Foundation Library and Media Center, a research center with 200,000 recordings, more than 60,000 historical photographs, thousands of audiotapes, copies of sheet music, songbooks, periodicals, books and clips; and the CMF Education Department, which provides music programs for about 20,000 students annually.