At its Nashville campus, the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum has shared critical cultural stories for 50 years. The museum wanted to expand its impact, reaching people no matter where they are in the world. So we built out online exhibits that museum staff adapted from physical exhibits.
For a more sustainable solution, though, our teams recognized how valuable it would be for museum staff to be able to curate and manage the online exhibits, to provide the best storytelling experience possible.
That oversight felt particularly critical for Night Train to Nashville: Music City Rhythm & Blues, 1945–1970, an award-winning exhibit that originally debuted at the museum in 2004 and 2005. It shares the impact of Black musicians on Nashville’s bustling R&B scene — and beyond.
We developed technology that makes online exhibits as easy for museum staff to manage as traditional in-person exhibits — within the existing CMS. This enables them to work directly with content, pulling in pieces from the original exhibit and new archival material, adapting them for an online audience to provide nuanced, yet accessible, storytelling.
For Night Train, museum staff adapted the original exhibit into eight virtual chapters, showing how Black R&B musicians became an unstoppable force in radio and TV during Jim Crow segregation and eventually, throughout the Civil Rights Movement.
The Journal of American History lauded the original Night Train exhibit as “a project that has definitely raised the bar regarding what people will expect of their public history,” and it earned the NAACP Bridging the Gap Award for the promotion of interracial understanding.
Now — and forevermore — the rest of the world can experience that critical story, along with a growing collection of online exhibits, directly curated by the Country Music Hall of Fame’s subject-matter experts.
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