The Tennessee Valley Old Time Fiddlers Convention was first started with a few musicians meeting in a rural Limestone County kitchen. These musicians decided it was time to bring fiddling out of the kitchen and onto the stage where everyone could enjoy the harmonious tunes. After a surprisingly enthusiastic response to two local fiddling contests held in Athens as a test, the Tennessee Valley Old Time Fiddlers Association was formed in the summer of 1967, and the annual convention was established.
After collecting half a century’s worth of historical Convention artifacts, it was decided that a Fiddlers Convention Museum should be opened on campus to showcase how the event has grown and changed over time while educating young attendees on its vibrant roots. On May 20, 2016, a room in the basement of McCandless Hall was approved to house the museum.
After countless hours of hard work by volunteers and funding by the Tennessee Valley Old Time Fiddlers Association, the room was transformed from a blank, empty space to a museum dedicated to the rich past of the Fiddlers Convention. The Museum celebrated its opening day on October 6, 2016, just 148 days after work on the space began.
The Museum features three distinct boards, each one containing a unique photo collage that tells the story of the Fiddlers Convention’s past.
The Beginning – Photo collage of the Fiddlers Convention in its early days. At the time, the event was small enough to be held in the Athens State gym.
Excitement Builds – Photo collage of when the Convention became so popular that it outgrew the gym and had to be moved to the area around Founders Hall.
Tradition Continues – Photo collage of some of the older musicians teaching the younger musicians the classic traditions of old time music.
The Fiddlers Museum is a special place that commemorates a special event that is a part of many people’s lives, from competitors to attendees. The museum is open to the public at various times during the year, including the first weekend of October during the Fiddlers Convention.