Int'l Bluegrass Music Museum
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Update May 2014 ... In an enormous show of support for Bluegrass music, the City of Owensboro, KY has pledged to give $3 million to the International Bluegrass Music Museum, provided the museum raises the remaining funds needed to build a fabulous new International Bluegrass Music Center on the site of the old state office building. Of the $12 million needed for this endeavor, the museum has raised nearly $5 million to add to the City's $3 million. Check back soon for architectural renderings!


For exciting news about the Center, Click here.

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9th Annual IBMM Mandolin Camp

ibmm-mandoCamp-9-up-webIBMM’s 9th annual Mandolin Camp, at the Museum in Owensboro, KY, is November 14-15-16, 2014!

With Mike Compton continuing as Camp Director, the Bill Monroe banner will still be carried high at this year’s camp, while other faculty members will add different methods of teaching. (Mr. Compton may do so, as well!) The Museum’s goal is to be inclusive of several styles in our 2014 curriculum.

Discount by registering by July 15!





The  IBMM Mandolin camp faculty includes:

  • Mike Compton

    For anyone who loves bluegrass mandolin, acoustic blues, or watching a musician express himself with incredible mastery of his instrument, Mike Compton is riveting.  Many know Mike from the Nashville Bluegrass Band, John Hartford Stringband, or as the featured mandolin player on “O Brother, Where Art Thou”. Mike returns as Director of the IBMM Mandolin Camp — his 9th straight year imparting Monroe-style knowledge to mando campers. A mandolin master able to channel the Monroe-style playing better than anyone, Compton is a preservationist who continues teaching the music that Bill Monroe innovated and which set the standard for generations of bluegrass mandolin players to come. A true bluegrass icon and considered one of the best and most influential mandolin players in acoustic music today, Mike Compton is the General George Patton on the mandolin, and as passionate an advocate as you’re ever likely to find.

  • Jesse McReynolds 

    One of the greatest mandolinists of all time, a Bluegrass Hall of Fame member,  a man who has spent his entire life setting trends, Jessee joins IBMM faculty as a rare gift to mandolin students. The forever-young Mr. McReynolds will not only teach his unique style of cross-picking, but also provide insights into historical mandolin techniques, meanwhile keeping campers enthralled with stories of Jim & Jesse’s bluegrass days of old. Wow! You do not want to miss this opportunity to spend three days and nights with the legendary Jesse McReynolds! 

  • Dominick Leslie

    Dom has studied with mandolin virtuosos David Grisman, Mike Marshall, Chris Thile, Don Stiernberg, Andy Statman, Mike Compton and others, and enrolled in the Berklee College of Music in 2008. Dominick is currently a member of the phenomenal new band, The Brotet, as well as the Boston-based group The Deadly Gentlemen. He can occasionally be seen performing with The Grant Gordy Quartet, Noam Pikelny and Friends, and other groups. Whether writing a new piece, learning a tune or performing with his confreres, Dominick will always share his love of music with others and enjoy playing the mandolin.  Dominick performed at 2013 ROMP and gave a Mandolin workshop at ROMP with Sam Bush. We look forward to adding his instruction to our growing list of instructors for  the 9th Annual IBMM Mandolin Camp.

  • Sierra Hull

    Appearing on Kentucky’s own Woodsongs when she was 10 years old with her hero Sam Bush, Sierra Hull was invited to the Opry stage at age 11, signed to Rounder Records and released her first CD at age 16, and currently attends  the Berklee College of Music in Boston on a scholarship. Sierra  has a traditional bluegrass sensibility and skill that defies her young age.  Already having presented numerous mandolin workshops alone and with other mandolin virtuosos, Sierra brings a youthful slant to bluegrass mandolin applauded by veterans as well.

  • Don Stiernberg

    While still in his teens, Don Stiernberg learned to play the  mandolin from the influential and innovative virtuoso Jethro Burns.  Jethro referred to Don as his “graduate student”, hired him to play in his band, and guided him into a lifelong career in music. A leading exponent of jazz mandolin style, Don has eight recording projects of his own and appears on many others by a variety of artists in all styles. In addition to touring from coast to coast and abroad with his own trio, he stays busy with freelance performing and recording session work in and around his native Chicago. Don also enjoys teaching and writing about the mandolin.Mel Bay has just released his method book “Jazz Mandolin Appetizers”, and he continues to contribute regularly to Mandolin Magazine. He has been an instructor at River of the West, Mandolin Symposium, Kaufman Kamp, Swannanoa, Mando Camp North, Cape Cod Mandolin Camp, Ashokan Swing Week, Accademia Internacionale di Mandolino, European Mandoline Akademy, and Momento Rio Bandolim.  Don’s latest release, “Mandoboppin’”made Acoustic Guitar Magazine’s Best of 2013 list.

  • Will Kimble 

    Born in 1969, luthier Will Kimble fell in love with mandolins in 1997, and began building in 2000.  His father, Fred Kimble, taught Will how to build and still works with him to this day.  He is also influenced by his friend and mentor, Lynn Dudenbostel.  Will and his father are inspired by Loar-era Gibsons as they pursue their passion of building mandolins. Will  will be providing mandolin repair, advice, and construction and care sessions at mando camp.


New performers are imparting their own footprints on bluegrass. Stay tuned (all 8 strings, please) for news of other  mando camp news to be announced…

  • Prices:  Note discount for early registration!
    • Register and pay by July 15:
    • Register/payment after July 15:
  • Registration includes: All three days of classes,  meals (Friday dinner, Saturday lunch), Lodging for two nights (Friday and Saturday - discounted rates for additional lodging nights if desired), free admission to All-Star Faculty concert and reception Saturday night, and camp T-shirt!
  • Online mando camp registration is now available.
  • For More information see the Mando Camp info page

ROMPfest 2014 – info and news articles


Support the International Bluegrass Music Museum and have a wonderful weekend June 25-28 at beautiful Yellow Creek Park in Owensboro!

Go to for line-up, camping info and tickets.

Owensboro Messenger-Inquirer ROMP articles:

(Thanks to M&I for opening these articles about ROMP up to the public – no subscription required)


Special Section

Thursday: Jam session with legends leaves pickers exhilarated

Thursday: Campers are ready to ROMP

Thursday: Owensboro hosts 30th bluegrass festival this week

Friday: A laid-back affair

Saturday: Skaggs, fans love old-time bluegrass

Sunday: Stellar lineup, atmosphere lead to ROMPing good time

Tuesday July 1: ROMP crowd likely topped 20,000 for third year

Tuesday July 1: The People of ROMP (video)

Related articles requiring a M&I subscription:

Friday: Music trail in Owensboro’s future?

Saturday: Bluegrass center final design unveiled

Sunday: Owensboro to be musical side trip



Powerful: Bill Monroe Remembered Premieres June 10

Monroe_powerful_ketThe long-awaited premiere of a powerful new documentary produced by the International Bluegrass Music Museum in Owensboro, KY takes place at 9:00 PM EDT on Tuesday, June 10, 2014  on Kentucky Educational Television.

POWERFUL: Bill Monroe Remembered tells the poignant, riveting story of Ohio County, KY native Bill Monroe, Father of Bluegrass Music, through the remembrances of dozens of his “Blue Grass Boys,” the name given to the 161 sidemen and women who, at various times, were members of his band from the 1940s until his death in 1996.

Portions of this documentary were first shown at the museum’s Bill Monroe Centennial Celebration on the anniversary of Monroe’s 100 birthday, September 13, 2011. Prominent bluegrass musician Pete Wernick, a/k/a Dr. Banjo, attended the celebration and wrote this description of POWERFUL for the bluegrass community:

“The movie “Powerful“, about Bill Monroe, made its debut right on Bill’s 100th birthday, and it is a truly awesome and amazing piece of work. The meat of the 2-hour film is beautifully shot and edited stories from his stunning cavalcade of sidemen… including Earl Scruggs, Jimmy Martin, Bobby Hicks, Jack Hicks, George Shumate, Peter Rowan, Del McCoury, Byron Berline, Glen Duncan, Bill Keith, James Monroe, Lamar Grier, and on and on.

 “These men were at their ease, very-well recorded, telling it like it was, and the subject matter and editing makes the time just fly by, as a deep and rich portrait emerges of the cross-eyed child who could lift a 1000 pound log, kick a mule in the jaw with “the sound of an exploding watermelon”, scare the devil out of his musicians, and melt your heart with a kind word or act, or soulful song.

 “This movie, by Joe Gray of Louisville, KY, is no less than a masterpiece in my opinion, with very high cinematic values, deeply insightful, and beautifully woven — probably the best movie ever about bluegrass.”

POWERFUL actually had its genesis as far back as 2003. In September of that year, in a clearly time-dated and historically impactful project, the International Bluegrass Music Museum launched its Video Oral History Project to professionally record the histories of the living members of bluegrass music’s 1st and early 2nd generations. In so doing, the museum created an archive of a vastly under-documented segment of our nation’s cultural heritage by filming in-depth, first person interviews conducted by knowledgeable historians. Many of the interviews were augmented with concert footage.

Midway through the Video Oral History Project’s process, it became apparent that the Blue Grass Boys’ remembrances about Bill Monroe had not been captured for posterity and would be lost forever if immediate action was not taken to record their histories. This loss would have been a travesty, since “bluegrass” is one of a scant handful of original American music genres, and as such, is an integral part of our nation’s cultural heritage. The pioneering members of the genre contributed to the shaping of the sound and its popularity in lands far and wide. Their influence on acoustic music in the 20th Century has since led to the establishment of bluegrass communities throughout North America, Japan, Europe, Russia, Australia, and elsewhere. This worldwide bluegrass community is currently estimated in the tens of millions and growing exponentially as the genre opens wide to its roots and branches.

The museum therefore set out to create a definitive document that would tell Mr. Monroe’s story in a way in which it had never before been told. POWERFUL: Bill Monroe Remembered, takes the viewer back to the early days of bluegrass music through the stories of those who lived it. What emerges is a powerful and enduring portrait of one of America’s most important musical creators.

After its premiere on KET, the International Bluegrass Music Museum will show POWERFUL: Bill Monroe Remembered on each day of its upcoming festival, ROMP, June 25-26-27-28.

See KET schedule info for Powerful: Bill Monroe Remembered  including rebroadcast of this special at other times.

The ROMP website is; the museum’s website is

For more information, call 888 MY BANJO.

Free Bluegrass Museum Admission to active military members and their families

Blue-Star-Museum-201413 Kentucky museums offer free admission toactive military personnel and families from Memorial Day to Labor Day this summer.

This includes the International Bluegrass Music Museum in Owensboro.

FRANKFORT, Ky. — Thirteen Kentucky museums will offer free admission to active military members and their families this summer as part of the Blue Star Museums initiative.

A collaboration of the Department of Defense, the National Endowment for the Arts, Blue Star Families and thousands of museums nationwide, the Blue Star Museum program was started five years ago as a military appreciation effort aimed at connecting military families to cultural resources in communities where they’ve moved or are based.

“The Blue Star Museum initiative is a special way for Kentucky military personnel to spend time with their friends or family in a unique setting,” said Lori Meadows, arts council executive director. “The growing list of participating museums provides a chance for visitors to explore not only fine art but also music, science and local history in the Commonwealth.”

Currently, participating Blue Star Museums in Kentucky are:

  • Kentucky Museum, Bowling Green
  • Eloise B. Houchens Center, Bowling Green
  • Historic RailPark & Train Museum, Bowling Green
  • Behringer-Crawford Museum, Covington
  • Aviation Museum of Kentucky, Lexington
  • Frazier History Museum, Louisville
  • Historic Locust Grove, Louisville
  • Muhammad Ali Center, Louisville
  • Kentucky Gateway Museum Center, Maysville
  • International Bluegrass Music Museum, Owensboro
  • Owensboro Museum of Science and History, Owensboro
  • Hopewell Museum, Paris
  • East Kentucky Science Center, Prestonsburg

The official window for free admission at Blue Star Museums runs from Memorial Day, May 26, through Labor Day, Sept. 1.

For information about Kentucky’s participation in Blue Star Museums, see the Arts Council announcement.

Concerts at the IBMM – Spring 2014

Thanks to Samson Grisman for curating our Winter/Spring 2014 Concert Series this season. And huge thanks to the following bands for bringing their talent to the museum’s devoted audiences:

January 12, Colin O’Brien

January 24, Vickie Vaughn Band

February 7, Head for the Hills

February 24, Foghorn String Band

March 16, Don Stiernberg Trio

April 17, Bradford Lee Folk and the Bluegrass Playboys

May 2, Missy Raines Band

May 22, Scott Simontacchi 



Hours of Operation

Regular hours:
Tuesday - Saturday
10am-5:00pm CST
1pm -4pm CST

Closed on Mondays
However, if you are traveling & can only visit the museum on a Monday, give us a call at 270-926-7891. We're in the office and we'll let you in!

Memorial Day, July 4, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's Day.


Museum members always get in free
Adults / Seniors: $5
Students: $2
Children under age 6: free
Group Rates: Call 270-926-7891
Special pricing & event packages are available for tours or groups.
Call 270-926-7891 to arrange a unique trip, live performance, or guided tour:

Enjoy the Museum!

888-MY BANJO (toll-free)

Museum Entrance
117 Daviess Street
Owensboro, KY 42303
between the Ohio River & 2nd Street

Mailing Address
International Bluegrass Music Museum
207 East Second Street
Owensboro, KY 42303

Facility Rentals
email Carly Smith

Gold Membership Payment Plans
email Gabrielle Gray

Artifact Donations
email Gabrielle Gray

email Chris Langdon

Gift Shop Manager
email Chris Langdon

email Beth Tibbitts