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Benefit Concert Series

23 String Band Live at the Museum on Sept. 26th















Music Lessons – Spring 2015

Learn to play bluegrass instruments at the Bluegrass Music Museum!

Feb 07 – June 27: Every other Saturday Morning

Guitar, Fiddle, Banjo, and Mandolin
Several different classes are available:

CLICK HERE to sign-up!


9am Beginner – ages 6-7- 8

10am Beginner – ages 9-10-11

11am Beginner – ages 12 and up

12pm Intermediate – all ages

1pm Band – all ages


9am Beginner – ages 6-7- 8

10am Beginner – ages 9-10-11

11am Beginner – ages 12 and up

12pm Intermediate – all ages


10am Beginner – ages 6-11

11am Beginner – ages 12 and up

12pm Intermediate – all ages


11am Beginner – ages 12 and up

12pm Intermediate – all ages


1pm – All Instruments and All Ages

  • (Must have at least 2 years experience playing your instrument)

Price is $70 for each class for first family member.  Additional family members $35.

Additional information needed:

** PLEASE PASTE THIS INFORMATION into the ‘Order Notes’ section of your order **

(You can omit address information if it is the same as the ‘Billing Address’ in the Cart Checkout page.

Student Name:
Parent’s Name:
City, State, Zip:
Do you need an instrument: (yes/no)
Do you already have a museum Instrument?

Les Leverett exhibit

The International Bluegrass Music Museum in downtown Owensboro, Ky is currently hosting an exhibit featuring the work of famed music photographer, Les Leverett.

leverett-mw-bus-webUnveiled during ROMP this past June 2014, the exhibit showcases dozens of incredible photographs taken during Leverett’s long career as a bluegrass music photographer. Over the years, Leverett has secured his reputation as Nashville’s premier music photographer by photographing everything from record album covers to scenes of the Opry backstage. His photo archive is among the most extensive in the business, and his clients range from Life magazine to The Nashville Network, from American Heritage, to the Grand Ole Opry. Yet Leverett has always had a special place in his heart for bluegrass, ever since the days when his office was in the old National Life building, and he stood outside the window of the WSM studio to watch Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs sell Martha White flour. His sense of history, his passion for bluegrass, and his consummate skill with a camera made it only natural that he be honored with an exhibit by the International Bluegrass Music Museum.

Leverett searched through thousands of negatives, proofs and images of his collection to find the photographs which are featured in the exhibit. After creating a list of artists he had documented through the years, he began the process of finding the photographs he wanted to print. The exhibit gave Leverett the opportunity to print pictures he personally enjoyed, a chance he seldom was given as a commercial photographer.

Leverett’s admiration of bluegrass music started at an early age and is still strong in his heart today.

“I just love bluegrass music,” he said. “On Wednesday nights I attend a prayer service and love when the music director pulls out an old bluegrass gospel tune. I really love it.”

There are many “first additions” in the collection as well as other images that may be familiar to bluegrass music fans.

IBMM curator RaShae Jennings expressed the uniqueness of Leverett’s work, “His photographs are quite beautiful, and capture moments that words can’t express. There are lighter moments of the artists backstage, in diners…things you don’t see in the usual pictures of them performing.”

“We tried to avoid a constant stream of bands performing in front of microphones; Les knows better than anyone else that this is only part of the bluegrass scene, and that shots made backstage, at festivals, at recording or radio sessions, eating at roadside restaurants, or talking with fans are as revealing as the more glamorous ones.

Students of motion pictures speak of the “auteur” — the artist who is able to work within the commercial industry and at the same time express his own imagination and vision. There is no better way to define the work of a man whose vision has for over three decades enhanced the dignity and beauty of bluegrass music — Les Leverett.” –Charles K. Wolfe (late Professor of English, music historian, and author of “Grand Ole Opry: The Early Years,” “Tennessee Strings,” “Kentucky Country,” and an abundance of similarly important books, articles, reviews, and notes on music in American Culture.

les-leverett-webAfter being discharged from the Army in 1947, Leverett enrolled in The Texas College of Photographic Art in San Antonio. His interest in photography had been sparked partly because of a pair of Civil War binoculars owned by his father.  Leverett often “borrowed” the lenses from these binoculars and projected self-drawn “comic strips” from his home-made projector onto the bedroom shades.

He began his career working for Associated Photographers in Nashville. Shortly after the business shut down, Leverett started a career as a photographer for National Life and Accident Insurance Company. During this time he fused his career with work for WSM-TV as well as the Grand Ole Opry, which eventually led to his long time work with the Opry which spanned 32 years.

Leverett’s photographs have appeared on hundreds of album covers, in many books, magazines, newspapers and videos. Special honors include a Grammy award for best album cover photography in 1966 for Porter Wagoner’s album, “Confessions of a Broken Man”; and Billboard Magazine’s Best Country Cover award in 1973 for Dolly Parton’s album, “Bubblin’ Over.”

Leverett was inducted into Opryland’s National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences’ “Walkway of Stars” in June, 1994.

For information on viewing this exhibit at the International Bluegrass Music Museum, go to

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.

Hours of Operation

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

Closed on Mondays

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

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

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