Opry Staff Works Round The Clock To Salvage Items From The Flood
May 14, 2010 at 6:55 AM (PT)
The GRAND OLE OPRY entertainment complex, which was flooded on MAY 2nd, is currently undergoing an around-the-clock remediation process aimed at ensuring the well-being of OPRY archives and collections affected by the flooding. Several items were untouched, as they were moved to safety in the hours prior to the complex taking in water.
Among those items spared include a copy of the NASHVILLE BANNER announcing GAYLORD Country WSM-A/NASHVILLE’s first broadcast day, the steamboat whistle that OPRY founder GEORGE D. HAY blew to signal the beginning of OPRY shows, the fiddle that ROY ACUFF played during his first OPRY performance and a pair of shoes that MINNIE PEARL wore during more than 50 performances. The GRAND OLE OPRY HOUSE’s signature element, a six-foot circle of oak wood taken from the RYMAN AUDITORIUM, is also safe.
The CHICAGO CONSERVATION CENTER has collected numerous other artifacts from the complex to care for them in CHICAGO before returning them to OPRY caretakers. The OPRY’s vast video archives have been entrusted to NEW JERSEY company SPECSBROS, LLC. BELFOR, a company out of FORT WORTH, TX, has been enlisted to work with the OPRY’s extensive photo archives, and NASHVILLE-based GEORGE GRUHN and JOE GLASER will lead a team of luthiers from across the country to restore string instruments affected by the flood.
Nearly all of the OPRY’s audio archives were safe above the flood water line inside the GRAND OLE OPRY HOUSE, though some items housed in the WSM offices will need professional attention. A number of personal items, instruments and clothing belonging to OPRY members and staff were also affected by the flood. Many of those items will require restoration, while others have been cataloged and prepped for immediate return to their owners.
Amid all of the restoration, the OPRY staff is preserving an artifact created by the flood waters, an OPRY HOUSE stage door that was halfway submerged in water and became a symbol of the flood devastation, appearing online and in newspapers around the world. The door was removed and the water mark on the door will be preserved. GRAND OLE OPRY Pres. STEVE BUCHANAN said: The stage door will no doubt become a historic symbol representing this extraordinary event.”
For more info on the OPRY’s restoration efforts, including a schedule of upcoming OPRY venues and performers, visit www.opry.com.