Taylor Swift officially cut the ribbon to open the Taylor Swift Education Center at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville on October 12. During the ceremony, Taylor presented the Museum with a custom-made Taylor K65ce acoustic-electric twelve-string guitar, a possession near to her heart.
“This is the first guitar that I obsessed over and ended up buying,” Taylor told the audience. “I wrote some of my earliest songs on it when I was 13 and 14.”
Taylor has a long relationship with the museum. She signed her record contract there as a teenager and gave some of her first performances on the building’s plaza. She has performed for several of the Museum’s fundraisers and donated or loaned many of her personal items for exhibits.
“This museum means so much to me,” she said. “Walking through the [galleries] and hearing Australian accents and hearing people speaking Japanese and seeing people from Germany—it feels like a new wave of interest in Nashville. I think a lot of that has to do with the fact that there is a place where people can come, and not only learn about the legends of country music, but they can also get an inside scoop of what’s happening today in country music. I appreciate the museum keeping it modern while also celebrating what was in country music’s past.”
The center, built through Taylor’s $4 million gift to the Museum, includes classrooms and a learning lab as well as an interactive exhibit gallery which will open in March 2014. Taylor’s hope is that the center inspires children to love music and the arts.
“A lot of my music education happened outside of school,” she said. “It happened because my parents were willing to drive me to countless children’s theater and local theater productions or take me to guitar lessons. I’m so glad this is a space where there will be demonstrations and instruments that kids can try without having to spend money and buy one for themselves. They want to come here, and they want to learn. They want to hear a songwriter talk about what it is to really craft a song.”
Taylor’s gift to fund the education center is the largest artist donation in the Museum’s history.