Wilkes Heritage Museum incl. Blue Ridge Music Hall Of Fame (Updated)

We visit the Wilkes Heritage Museum

Wilkes Heritage Museum – Photo: LTTL

Wilkes Heritage Museum

Blue Ridge Music Hall Of Fame

Wilkesboro, North Carolina 13 September 2023

GrassRoots Music Tour 2023

By Rob Dickens

The Wilkes Heritage Museum, Inc. is a private, non-profit organization formed in 1968. It is responsible for operating and maintaining the Museum (former Wilkes County Courthouse – 1902) incorporating the Blue Ridge Music Hall of Fame (see below). The Museum has also restored the Old Wilkes County Jail (1859) and the 1779 home of Captain Robert Cleveland, which are now operated as educational centres for the community.

Since its official opening in November 2005, the Wilkes Heritage Museum has vibrantly contributed to the education and culture of the county through a collection of artifacts and images, stories of early settlement, military history, industry, medicine, communication and education. It is located in beautiful downtown historic Wilkesboro, North Carolina. The town is also the location of MerleFest (named after Doc Watson‘s son Merle) which is considered one of the premier “traditional plus” music festivals in the country, held on the campus of Wilkes Community College.

Photos: LTTL

For any visitor, a trip to the Wilkes Heritage Museum will give you a unique insight into the music and culture of the region. The experiences of going through the Museum, the Hall of Fame and Candlelight Ghost Tours are invaluable. Special thanks to Director, Jennifer Furr and volunteer Nancy Watson for giving up so much of their time and providing such an absorbing first-hand experience

We visit the Wilkes Heritage Museum

Blue Ridge Music Hall Of Fame

The Blue Ridge Music Hall of Fame exists to showcase and preserve the rich musical heritage of the greater Blue Ridge Mountains area from northern Georgia to northern Virginia. The Hall of Fame educates, defines and interprets the history of music in the area and musicians in all genres from the region with exhibits and an annual celebration of inductees.

The Museum has a room dedicated to musical instruments with panels telling the story of music in the Blue Ridge area and interactive displays. The inductees are featured in the main auditorium with displays.

Photo: LTTL

Photos: LTTL

Candidates for election to the Blue Ridge Music Hall of Fame shall meet at least one of the following criteria:

Those who achieved acclaim as songwriters, master musicians, national or regional performers in any form of musical heritage who were either born near or who were substantially active in the Blue Ridge Mountain region. This includes luthiers, organizers and promoters, backing musicians, media personnel, dancers and callers, broadcasters, recording engineers and record company operators. 

In addition, the Blue Ridge Music Hall of Fame committee may, by unanimous vote, select Honorary Inductees based on the level of commitment and support certain individuals have given to creating and implementing the Blue Ridge Music Hall of Fame.

Inductees

2008

Doc Watson, nationally known artist

Earl Scruggs, nationally known artist

David Johnson, sideman and regional musician

The Carter Family, pioneer artist

Tommy Jarrell, master musician and tradition bearer

Dolly Parton, songwriter

Ralph Rinzler, special contributor, promoter and organizer

Ralph Epperson, media and scholar

Wayne Henderson, luthier

Sam Love Queen, Sr, traditional dance

Art Menius, honorary inductee

2009

Ralph and Carter Stanley, nationally known artist

Ola Belle Reed, pioneer artist

Arthur “Guitar Boogie” Smith, songwriter

Mike Seeger, recording industry

Eric Ellis, sideman and regional musician

The Primitive Quartet, gospel music

Mike Cross, honorary inductee

Nancy Watson, honorary inductee

2010

Don Reno, nationally known artist

Clarence “Tom” Ashley, pioneer artist

Bobby Hicks, sideman and regional musician

Albert Hash, luthier

“B” Townes IV, special contributor, promoter and organizer

Etta Baker, master musician and tradition bearer

2011

Emmylou Harris, nationally known artist

Willard Watson, traditional dance

Jens Kruger, regional musician

Jim Lauderdale, songwriter

Jim Shumate, pioneer artist

2012

George Hamilton IV, nationally known artist

Charlie Poole, pioneer artist

Dewitt “Snuffy” Jenkins, sideman and regional musician

David Holt, recording industry

The Chuck Wagon Band, gospel music

Cindy Baucom, special contributor, promoter and organizer

Robert “Tut” Taylor, master musician and tradition bearer

William “Oliver” Swofford, honorary inductee

Dr T. R. Bryan, Dr T R Bryan wilkes heritage music award*

2013

Andy Griffin, nationally known artist

Pete Kuykendall, media and scholar

Kyle Creed, luthier

Lester Flatt, songwriter

Norman Blake, sideman and regional musician

The Stoneman Family, pioneer artist

Jimmy Church, honorary inductee

2014

Roy Acuff, nationally known artist

Green Grass Cloggers, traditional dance

Doc Walsh and the Carolina Tar Heels, master musician and tradition bearer

The Wayne C. Henderson Festival, special contributor, promoter and organizer

Jeff Little, sideman and regional musician

Uncle Dave Macon, pioneer artist

Ward Eller, Dr T R Bryan wilkes heritage music award

2015

Ronnie Milsap, nationally known artist

Lulu Belle and Scotty Wiseman, pioneer artist

Terry Baucom, sideman and regional musician

The Lewis Family, gospel music

Si Kahn, songwriter

Bobby Patterson, recording industry

Keith Watts, honorary inductee

Tony Rice, nationally known artist

2016

Bascom Lamar Lunsford, pioneer artist

Bryan Sutton, sideman and regional musician

Ralph Blizzard, master musician and tradition bearer

Herb Key, luthier

Alan Lomax, media scholar

Alice Gerrard, special contributor, promoter and organizer

Billy Gee, Dr T R Bryan wilkes heritage music award

2017

Mac Wiseman, nationally known artist

The Skillet Lickers, pioneer artist

Laura Boosinger, sideman and regional musician

Don Gibson, songwriter

Phil Jamison, traditional dance

Larry Skipper, Dr T R Bryan wilkes heritage music award

2018

Jimmie Rodgers, nationally known artist

J. E. Mainer, pioneer artist

George Shuffler, sideman and regional musician

Hazel Dickens, master musician and tradition bearer

Galax Old Fiddlers Convention, special contributor, promoter and organizer

The Easter Brothers, gospel music

Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, recording industry

Bill Williams, Dr T R Bryan wilkes heritage music award

2019

Patsy Cline, nationally known artist

Kenny Baker, sideman and regional musician

Fiddlin’ John Carson, pioneer artist

Bluegrass Unlimited, media and scholar

Bill Clifton, songwriter

Union Grove Old Time Fiddlers’ Convention, special contributor, promoter and organizer

Mike Palmer, Dr T R Bryan wilkes heritage music award

2020/21

Chet Atkins, nationally known artist

Samantha Bumgarner, master musician and tradition bearer

Grayson and Whitter, pioneer artist

T. Michael Coleman, sideman and regional musician

Bob Kogut, luthier

Linda Cabe, Dr T R Bryan wilkes heritage music award

County Records, recording industry

2022

Jim & Jesse, nationally known artist

The Blue Sky Boys, pioneer artist

Arvil Freeman, sideman & regional musician

Randall Hylton, songwriter

Rodney Sutton, dance

MerleFest, special contributor, promoter & organiser

Ernest Johnson, Dr T R Bryan wilkes heritage music award

2023

Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver, nationally known artist

Willard Gayheart, sideman & regional musician

The Cockman Family, gospel

Benton Flippen, pioneer artist

L. W. Lambert, master musician & tradition bearer

Sugar Hill Records/Barry Poss, recording industry

Donnie Story, Dr T R Bryan wilkes heritage music award

The sixteenth annual Blue Ridge Music Hall of Fame induction will be held March 23, 2024

*Dr T R Bryan was one of the charter members of the Blue Ridge Music Hall of Fame Trustees, who created and supported many music programs in conjunction with various local groups. In his memory, the Hall of Fame Trustees partnered with the Wilkes Acoustic Folk Society to create an award. The annual award is given to a person who has contributed to music on the local level in Wilkes County.

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We visit the Wilkes Heritage Museum

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We visit the Wilkes Heritage Museum

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Author: Rob Dickens

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