A new museum honoring ‘The Father of Bluegrass’ opens April 20 in Bill Monroe’s hometown of Rosine. The museum that’s been a long-time dream of the Ohio County community is finally a reality.
This community opening of the Bill Monroe Museum will launch the tourism season for Ohio County that’s naturally focused on the legendary musician who’s given credit for creating a genre of music because, as he said, he “didn’t want to copy anybody.”
Some of the instruments that created that unique bluegrass sound will be among the initial exhibits, including two of Monroe’s mandolins, and a Gibson banjo played by Rudy Lyle, a member of Monroe’s band, The Bluegrass Boys.
Ohio County Tourism Executive Director Jody Flener said it’s a joy to take memories of Monroe out of storage.
"We are going to open so people can start seeing where we’re at and we do have that memorabilia that we’ve had for so many years, so that’s what we’re excited to start showing off," said Flener. "We still are getting people contacting us and wanting to contribute items they have of Bill’s.”
Flener said some of the items in the museum are big.
“One of Bill’s Cadillacs will be in there. The last one that he drove and owned is going to be in there. And we also are getting on loan, one that his son owned, and then Bill owned. And actually, the last person to drive it was Ralph Stanley.”
Ralph Stanley, of course, is another legendary bluegrass artist.
A bigger event will be the grand opening of the museum in September that will increase the focus on Ohio County’s native son. The new museum is about two miles from the Bill Monroe Homeplace on Jerusalem Ridge. In September, the Jerusalem Ridge Bluegrass Celebration will return to its original site, after being at other locations since 2011.