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date: 23 October 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter explores how the Country Music Association and the Country Music Foundation have shaped the telling of country music history. It traces the development of the Foundation and the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum from the mid-1960s to the present, arguing that although the Foundation sought to become a traditional academic institution in its early years, it was ultimately re-envisioned as a public education institution, also incorporating a museum that would house the Hall of Fame. This stance reflected both the wider trend toward museum corporatization and a democratic impulse to interpret country music history for the widest possible public. Despite the tensions inherent in balancing entertainment with education and sales potential with academic interests, this philosophy not only resulted in a sustainable vehicle for enshrining country music history, it produced a more nuanced presentation of that history than is often acknowledged.

Keywords: Country Music Association, Country Music Foundation, country music historiography, folklorist, corporatization, public education

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