- Associated Press - Thursday, July 28, 2011

NASHVILLE, TENN. (AP) - The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum is off to a fast start in its $75 million expansion campaign.

Officials said Thursday as they kicked off a public fundraising campaign that they’ve already received more than $56 million in commitments for an expansion that will more than double the size of the hall of fame. They announced plans to add more than 200,000 square feet of exhibit, classroom and archival space and an 800-seat theater.

When complete, the museum will be connected to the new Nashville convention center project across the street.

Alan Jackson and Ricky Skaggs helped kick off the campaign with music and Ford Motor Co. chairman Bill Ford and Nashville Mayor Karl Dean made appearances. Officials also announced that hall of fame board chairman Steve Turner kicked off contributions with a $6.5 million gift.

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