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Welcome to one of the nation's leading research and programming centers devoted to the full study of popular and folk music in the United States and beyond.

Center for Popular Music Awarded National Endowment for the Humanities Grant

We are excited to announce that the Center for Popular Music has received a $205,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities! The award is part of the NEH's Sustaining Cultural Heritage Collections program, and will allow us to make major renovations to the CPM's archival storage room in order to preserve our materials with increased sustainability, security, efficiency, and accessibility. It's going to be a busy year ahead as we ready our space for the continued vibrant growth of one of the nation's largest and most important American vernacular music research collections!

Read the official press release here.National Endowment for the Humanities Poster

Fundraiser To Preserve Work of Late Music Photographer Alan Mayor

Alan Mayor HeadshotThe Center for Popular Music acquired the Alan Mayor Photography Collection in late 2017. Mayor, a beloved photographer who passed away in 2015, documented more than four decades of Nashville’s musical life: the Opry, Fan Fair (now CMA Fest), music industry events, local shows, tours, and a treasure trove of behind-the-scenes photos of country’s biggest stars.

While the University employs two certified archivists who will manage this project, the Center needs to raise $50,000 to purchase materials to preserve the tens of thousands of photographs, negatives and slides. Once the project is completed, Mayor’s photos will be available to the public for reference and, pending his family’s permission, inclusion in publications and other media.

 Anyone interested in making a tax-deductible donation may text ALAN to 41444 or donate online


Songs of Home, Nation, and the World exhibit at Walker LibrarySongs of Home, Nation, & the World

Stop by James E. Walker Library's Special Collections Department on the 4th floor to see our American Music Manuscripts on display. This exhibit was curated by one of our graduate assistants, Sam Schaefer, and features selected items from the Center's collection of handwritten music manuscripts. This exhibit will be on display until September 20th, so go check it out!

Unable to visit in person? Check out our American Vernacular Music Manuscripts website. This website features handwritten music manuscripts from The Center's collection and the collection of the American Antiquarian Society. 


Join Us for Our Spring Popular Music Studies Brown Bag Series!

Schedule for 2018 Brown Bags

Bring your lunch and join us in the CPM reading room (BRAGG 140) for our spring brown bags. All events take place at 11:30 am. Dessert provided!

  • Wednesday, February 21 - Trump and Music / Dr. Joe Morgan
  • Tuesday, March 20 - Elliott Smith's Ballads of Being and Nothingness: Indie Rock and the Existential Tradition / Dr. Shaun Cullen
  • Thursday, April 12 - 20 Feet from the Stacks: An Archivist's Perspective on Research / Donna Baker

Opera and Musical Theater Exhibit from the Gene Jones Collection

Visit the CPM reading room to see our newest exhbit, which features items from the Gene Jones Collection! 

Gene Jones Exhibit

A prolific collector and researcher of all forms of musical theater, as well as ragtime and jazz music, Mr. Jones boasts an impressive career as a successful music historian and actor. This exhibit, created by CPM Archivist Rachel Morris, is offered in conjunction with the MTSU School of Music's conference, "Opera and Musical Theater in the United States," March 23-25, 2018.

To learn more about the Gene Jones Collection: http://popmusic.mtsu.edu/archives/inventory/GeneJones.htm

 To learn more about the Opera and Musical Theater conference: https://www.mtsu.edu/music/operaconference.php 

Marvin Hedrick Audio Collection

Brown County JamboreeThe MTSU Center for Popular Music announces the completion of the Marvin Hedrick Audio Collection website, a digitization and cataloging project funded by the GRAMMY Foundation (now part of the GRAMMY Museum). The collection includes historically significant recordings of bluegrass and country music made by influential documentarian Marvin Hedrick in Brown County, Indiana between 1954 and 1973. The Hedrick Collection was donated to the Center for Popular Music by Marvin’s sons, Gary Hedrick and David Hedrick in 2015.

Each item in the collection was evaluated, preserved, and digitized in the Center’s state-of-the-art audio preservation lab, then catalogued with essential data such as song titles, performers, and dates, using CONTENTdm archival management software. A Finding Aid was also created, giving an overview of the collection and its contents. The Marvin Hedrick Audio Collection is searchable through its dedicated website. One audio sample from each tape is provided as streaming audio for educational purposes. The entirety of the collection’s digitized contents is available to researchers on-site at the Center for Popular Music.

2016-2017 Annual Report

The Center for Popular Music's Annual Report is now available for your reading pleasure! Catch up with the staff of the CPM and read about our recent acquisitions and events. The report is available here or if you go to About CPM and click on Annual Reports. Happy reading!


Want to keep up with all of our news and events? Sign up for the Center for Popular Music's monthly newsletter! 

The Center for Popular Music is rolling out a monthly newsletter in April. This newsletter will keep you up-to-date with everything happening at the Center, including new events, exhibits, collections, books, projects, Spring Fed Records releases, and more. Sign up today to be entered to win an album of your choice from the Spring Fed Records catalog! To sign up, please follow this link or click the subscribe button on the sidebar.

Have you been to the Center recently? Please take a moment to fill out our User Experience Survey here


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My Homeland Tennessee

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MTSU Box 41
1301 E. Main Street
Middle Tennessee State University
Murfreesboro, TN 37132

Room 140
Bragg Media & Entertainment Bldg.

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