Birthplace of Country Music Announces Departure of Museum Director and Appointment of Head Curator

Jessica Turner

Dr. Jessica Turner

Bristol, Tenn./VA – (December 11, 2017) — The Birthplace of Country Music (BCM) announces the resignation of Museum Director & Head Curator, Dr. Jessica Turner to accept a new position as Executive Director of the American Folklore Society.

“On behalf of BCM, we regretfully announce the resignation of Dr. Jessica Turner as the Museum Director & Head Curator of the Birthplace of Country Music Museum,” said Leah Ross, Executive Director of the Birthplace of Country Music. “Dr. Turner has been involved with the organization since 2011, and has officially served as Museum Director & Head Curator since 2013. She was instrumental in designing and curating the museum before it opened in August of 2014. BCM is very fortunate that Jessica was available to come on board to curate the museum’s content and help recruit an outstanding team of people, both staff and volunteers. Jessica will be missed, but we sincerely wish her well in her new position.”

Turner has accepted the position as Executive Director of the American Folklore Society (AFS), which is a US-based professional association that exists to further the discipline of folklore studies. As executive director, Turner will develop and carry out AFS initiatives and projects, raise funds, and serve as the organization’s representative to several national and international associations.

“I am proud to have worked with such a passionate and visionary group of staff, board, and volunteers as we designed and built the museum and developed its programs, and as we serve as an advocate for the arts in our region,” said Turner. “It’s a role that I will always cherish and will truly miss, and I will remain a strong supporter of BCM’s work and this community.”

Dr. Rene Rodgers

The major portion of Turner’s responsibilities will be transferred to Dr. Rene Rodgers who has been named Head Curator of the museum. Dr. Rodgers joined BCM in 2012, in a part-time role, as a member of the content team working on the exhibit script and design for the Birthplace of Country Music Museum. Once the museum opened in 2014, Rodgers joined the BCM team full time as the Curator of Exhibits & Publications and has overseen the special exhibits at the museum.

“We are extremely fortunate to have someone of Rene’s caliber on our staff,” said Ross. “Rene is fully knowledgeable regarding the curatorial aspects of our museum as well as its staff and volunteers. I look forward to working with her going forward as we move towards fulfilling our mission and improving our museum and its related programs.”


About the Birthplace of Country Music
The Birthplace of Country Music is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that seeks to perpetuate, promote, and celebrate Bristol’s rich musical heritage; to educate and engage audiences worldwide regarding the history, impact, and legacy of the 1927 Bristol Sessions from which we derive our name; and to create recognition, opportunities, and economic benefit for our local and regional communities.

BCM accomplishes this mission through its three primary branches (Birthplace of Country Music Museum, Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion, and Radio Bristol), special projects and events, and a multitude of community and educational outreach programs.


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MUSEUM: 101 Country Music Way
Bristol, VA 24201
(423) 573-1927

BUSINESS OFFICE: 416 State Street, Suite A
Bristol, TN 37620
(423) 573-1927