Bill Monroe bust on display at Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame

Thanks to a long term loan from the Grand Ole Opry, the Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame & Museum now has the bronze sculpture of Bill Monroe made by Steve Shields on display in their lobby.

An official unveiling ceremony was held on Friday, May 12 at the Museum, where the local Owensboro, KY press got their first look at this historic piece, commissioned by the Opry to celebrate their 70th anniversary in 1995. The piece was presented to Monroe on October 13, 1995 as part of a very special star-studded tribute that night.

The sculpture is approximately double life size, and in its new home in the lobby of the Museum, will surely be the first thing seen when visitors enter the building.

Executive Director Chris Joslin is delighted to have it on display in the Hall.

“If there was a Mt. Rushmore of the Grand Ole Opry, Bill Monroe would be one of its most recognizable faces. Although the Opry has launched many careers, I can think of no other artist who has had more of an impact on American music than Bill Monroe. The Grand Old Opry recognized this by creating this iconic sculpture to celebrate the career of one of its most important artists. To many, Bill Monroe was bigger than life, and this artifact captures the spirit of the man who created bluegrass music. It’s only fitting that it lives, for a season, here at the Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame & Museum.”

Opry Director of Archives and Content Management, Emily Frans, shared the Opry Entertainment Group’s commitment to bluegrass music.

“The Grand Ole Opry is delighted to celebrate and support the mission of the Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame & Museum with a loan of a Bill Monroe sculpture from the Grand Ole Opry Archives. This loan represents our mutual commitment to preserving and presenting the remarkable musical legacy of Bill Monroe and bluegrass music that coalesced on the stage of the Ryman Auditorium in the mid-1940s. As the music of Bill Monroe continues today as a powerful genre of music performed on the Opry stage and around the globe, the Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame & Museum serves as a remarkable resource for bluegrass music historians, scholars, musicians, and fans alike.”

The Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame & Museum is open in Owensboro, KY from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, and from 1:00-5:00 p.m. on Sunday. You will find more information about visiting on their official web site, where you can also learn about the many programs, concerts, and other events hosted there, as well as how you can support their mission to preserve and promote the music handed on to us by Bill Monroe.

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.