Home 9 Blog 9 “I’ve Endured: Women in Old-Time Music” Exhibit Hits the Right Note with BCM Museum Visitors

“I’ve Endured: Women in Old-Time Music” Exhibit Hits the Right Note with BCM Museum Visitors

Since it opened in 2014, the Birthplace of Country Music Museum has featured a number of special exhibits, but the newest one is definitely one of the most thought-provoking and engaging.

“I’ve Endured: Women in Old-Time Music” opened on March 23, and it’s already proven to be quite popular with museum guests.

The exhibit, which will be open through Dec. 31, pays homage to old-time music and the women of Appalachia who brought it to life. What is “old-time” music? It is generally related to “hillbilly music” and is considered to be mountain folk music that has strong ties to Appalachia and the diverse people who have called it home. Its roots and branches can be found in the development of country and bluegrass, and it is a melting pot of American culture, connecting multiple genres, influences, and instruments.

Women like Sara and Maybelle Carter, the Stoneman Sisters, and the legendary Dolly Parton have always been central to old-time music, whether it was in the home, on the stage, as singers, instrumentalists, preservationists, activists, promoters, or cultural memory keepers. “I’ve Endured: Women in Old-Time Music” highlights the many women who have been integral to this music, exploring the challenges they faced as they tried to carve out their place in the genre, their impact, and their vision for the future of old-time music.

How extraordinary is this exhibit? It certainly hits the right note with Parton, who said:

“Congratulations to the Birthplace of Country Music for honoring the women of old-time music with their own exhibit. These women were from the hills and hollers of the rural south, who helped plant musical seeds for all of us. My momma could have been in that exhibit since she taught us kids old ballads and immigrant songs, gave us a love for music, and access to banjos, fiddles, and a wash-tub bass. It’s great to see the seeds growing, from Mother Maybelle Carter all the way to my fellow Tennessean, Amethyst Kiah.”

The exhibit highlights 21 different women or groups whose considerable talents laid the groundwork for much of the country music we hear today.

The exhibit, as well as a special website – – features each of these incredible women or groups, giving visitors insight into their lives. You can also hear some of their music, and coming on May 1, you can listen to a number of other female musicians talk about what old-time music means to them. They also discuss the challenges they’ve faced, talk about the women who inspired them, and what they feel the future looks like for old-time music. The video playlist will feature a new interview at the beginning of each month.

Entry to the “I’ve Endured: Women in Old-Time Music” is included in a full museum tour admission price, or visitors may purchase special exhibit-only tickets for $5.25 at the museum’s front desk.

To learn more about the exhibit, visit the website.