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“A Good Tribute to Bluegrass and it's Stars”

International Bluegrass Music Museum
Ranked #2 of 25 things to do in Owensboro
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Owner description: The International Bluegrass Music Museum is the world's only facility dedicated to the history and preservation of the international history of bluegrass music. Plan a trip to Western Kentucky. Bring your instruments! Attend our jam sessions, concerts, and the ROMP Bluegrass Roots & Branches Festival. Then walk the hills of Jerusalem Ridge, and visit the homeplace of Bill Monroe, just down the road. Exhibits: -Bluegrass Hall of Fame - Pioneers of the music and people who have contributed to its greatness. -Stage-screen presentations of the museum's new digital VOHP documentary series highlighting First Generation musicians. -The Classic Band - The story of how Bill Monroe, Earl Scruggs, Lester Flatt, Chubby Wise, and Howard Watts changed the world. -Historically significant bluegrass instruments. -The Timeline of Bluegrass Music - Following the roots from the Scots-Irish string bands to camp meetings and gospel quartets, through fiddling conventions, the jazz era, and the folk music revival. -The work of legendary bluegrass photographers such as Les Leverett, Ron Petronko, Stephanie P. Ledgin, Phil Zimmerman, Gene Lowinger, Marta Moret, and Carl Fleishhauer.
Algonquin, Illinois
Level Contributor
24 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
“A Good Tribute to Bluegrass and it's Stars”
Reviewed June 18, 2013

The Bluegrass Museum was the reason we came to Owensboro. It is a must stop for the bluegrass fan. Good exhibits featuring the history of bluegrass music and all of it's biggest stars. Many exhibits feature music or interviews to listen to. Very knowledgeable staff. For 5 bucks, it is well worth the visit.

Visited June 2013
Thank Fredturtle42
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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60 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Italian first
  • Any
English first
Level Contributor
14 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
“Good down home to be had.”
Reviewed May 15, 2013

lot of Bluegrass Music history. Well worth the 5 dollar cover. The amount of artifact and clothing along with how it got its start was very interesting.

Visited May 2013
Thank Timothy P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
76 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 74 helpful votes
“Nice representation of Bluegrass”
Reviewed October 9, 2012

I've visited the museum several times in the past few years.

Being a bluegrass fan as long as I can remember I find this museum a wonderful place. There is a large exhibit(s) in place to honor Bill Monroe who is a hero to so many of us. It's good to see most of the first generation pioneers represented.

Being a historian of the music there is a few things I would change at the museum, but that becomes a matter of personal preference.

I wish the likenesses on the Hall of Fame plaques were a little more accurate. Some of them don't look a whole lot like the artist.

Overall though, the staff has brought this museum a long way in a few years.

They have a nice gift shop with a large selection of CDs and DVDs.

Visited October 2012
1 Thank gto64
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Gourock, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
243 reviews
67 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 116 helpful votes
“friendly & welcoming museum”
Reviewed September 15, 2012

We were lucky enough to visit the museum when real musicians were having tuition in it, so we saw the exhibits and listened to them at the same time. Fascinating to see the influence this style has had on others such as Bob Dylan & Steve Martin, and see the list of awards made to Bill Monroe over his long career - he was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame for his influence over others and the award was in a glass case. Well worth a look round over the two floors.

Visited September 2012
Thank Valerie W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chicago, Illinois
Level Contributor
63 reviews
18 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 94 helpful votes
“Great for Families”
Reviewed September 7, 2012

This great museum has a lot to offer even the most casual Bluegrass fan. If you're into any genre of music, by all means visit this gem. The wheelchair-accessible two-story building houses playful yet sophisticated multimedia presentations for all ages. This is a joyous showcase for modern Bluegrass culture that incorporates the history of the genre from an ethnomusicological (is that a real word?) standpoint. Our two kids, ages 6 and 8, eagerly activated each music listening station and literally danced through the exhibits. The "Banjokes" wall allowed them to lift little peekaboo windows to get to some pretty corny punchlines. Who doesn't love that? The mainfloor houses a continuous-loop documentary film as well as a life-size sculptural representation of a typical Bluegrass festival--from workshop to jam session to concert. Upstairs, you'll see a variety of vintage instruments, costumes, photos, and documents that span the decades. (Pete Seeger's banjo, inscribed with the phrase "This machine surrounds hate and forces it to surrender," was a highlight.) However, the emphasis here is on local legend Bill Monroe and his ever-evolving roster of Bluegrass Boys. Among the many artifacts on display from his long career are "Uncle Pen's Fiddle" and one of his mandolins--holy relics if ever there ever were any. Stop by the Gift Shop to browse the exhaustive collection of music and videos. They also carry a few music supplies like strings, straps, and picks, and the usual souvenir items. (Had to buy the commuter coffe mug--$2.99.) There's an expansion plan in the works for a multi-million dollar move to a bigger facility which will include larger spaces for concerts, classes and broadcasting. We visited on the Friday before Labor Day and found free parking in the structure across the street. In addition, the most magnificent public park lies just steps away right on the river. Porch-swings and bistro tables with a knockout view line the riverwalk. With an enormous, state-of-the-art playground, kiddie spray area, and central fountain, Smothers Park has to be one of the best public spaces I've ever seen--on a par with Millennium Park in Chicago. DEfinitely save room for a stroll. Way to go, Owensboro!

Visited September 2012
1 Thank Square-on-Wheels
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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