Back to Press Releases
  • Press Release

Museum Announces Partnership With First Amendment Center To Offer Education Programs

December 17, 2015
Exterior of Country Music Hall of Fame taken from a drone.

NASHVILLE, Tenn., December 17, 2015 – The Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum will offer two new educational programs to students next year through a partnership with the Newseum Institute’s First Amendment Center. The museum will host Freedom Sings, the First Amendment Center’s flagship program, for grades 9 to 12, as well as a new program, Music Matters: The Songs That Shaped America, being developed for grades 6 to 8. Both programs are free to Title I schools, and transportation subsidies may be available to qualifying schools.

 “The late Mr. John Seigenthaler, founder of the First Amendment Center, famously spent his life fighting for freedom and justice. As a board member and champion of the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, he understood the vital role that music plays in ongoing dialogue about the social issues of our day. Without his unparalleled support, the museum would not be what it is today,” said museum CEO Kyle Young. “We’re thrilled to partner with the First Amendment Center to offer these important programs as an extension of the museum experience and to further support the great work Mr. Seigenthaler initiated years ago.”

Music Matters will feature a live band of Nashville musicians telling the stories of some of our nation's most powerful songs and the events that inspired them. Aligned with middle school social studies curriculum, the program explores the ways in which music has reflected society and changed the way Americans see the world. Through an interactive and educational concert experience, students are better able to understand historical events and challenging subject matter. Music Matters will be presented on Friday, April 8, 2016, and the program is 75 minutes long.

On February 22 and 29, the museum will host Freedom Sings, the story of free speech in America as told through rock, pop, hip-hop, and country music in entertaining, engaging, and inspiring performances. An all-star cast revisits turning points in five decades of contemporary history, with songs from Loretta Lynn and the Beatles to today's top hits. Freedom Sings is in its fifteenth year of touring American colleges and communities.

"These two programs tell the vibrant story of our nation through the power and passion of music," said Ken Paulson, president of the First Amendment Center and author of both shows. "From the troubadours of the eighteenth century to contemporary pop, rock and hip-hop, free expression has been at the heart of America's music."

The music and topics explored in these programs connects directly to stories told in the museum’s galleries. Songs such as “Sunday Morning Coming Down” by Kris Kristofferson (a hit for Johnny Cash), “Man in Black” (written by Cash), and Merle Haggard’s “Fightin’ Side of Me” encapsulate the values and events of the eras in which they were created. Country music reflects the culture out of which it emerges just as conspicuously as other art forms do.

During their visit, students are encouraged to tour the museum for an enhanced learning experience. To make a reservation, please contact, 615-416-2084, or book online.

For more information about the museum’s education programs, click here.

The Newseum Institute’s First Amendment Center has offices at the Newseum in Washington, D.C., and at the John Seigenthaler Center on the campus of Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn. The center serves as a forum for the study and exploration of free-expression issues through education, information and entertainment.

Accredited by the American Alliance of Museums, the Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum is operated by the Country Music Foundation, a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) educational organization chartered by the state of Tennessee in 1964. The museum’s mission is the preservation of the history of country and related vernacular music rooted in southern culture.  With the same educational mission, the foundation also operates CMF Records, the museum’s Frist Library and Archive, CMF Press, Historic RCA Studio B and Hatch Show Print®.

More information about the Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum is available at or by calling (615) 416-2001.

Words & Music is made possible by the Country Music Association Endowment for Words & Music. Words & Music is funded in part by the BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Health Foundation; Marylee Chaski Charitable Corporation; Chet Atkins Fund of The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee; The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee; Connie Dean-Taylor, in memory of her father, Country Music Hall of Fame member Jimmy Dean; Dollar General Literacy Foundation; HCA Foundation; Metropolitan Nashville Arts Commission; Publix Super Markets Charities; Southwest Airlines; and Wells Fargo.

Technology Partners: Cisco; NewTek; Personal Computer Systems, Inc.; and Promethean


We use cookies in the following ways: (1) for system administration, (2) to assess the performance of the website, (3) to personalize your experience, content and ads, (4) to provide social media features, and (5) to analyze our traffic. You consent to our cookies if you continue to use our website. Please consult instructions for your web browser to disable or block cookies, or to receive a warning before a cookie is stored on your computer or mobile device. Read our Privacy Policy.