Sacred Harp Museum

The Sacred Harp Headquarters and Museum at Oak Grove Road, Carrollton, Georgia, features a growing collection of Sacred Harp and other shape-note songbooks, histories, and recent academic research, minutes, periodicals, and scrapbooks. The building contains a large meeting room, offices, guest bedroom and bath, kitchen, and a museum featuring historic songbooks and memorabilia. The Headquarters and Museum was built on land donated by the Denney Family.

The Sacred Harp Headquarters and Museum offers visitors—interested singers and scholars alike—an unparalleled glimpse into the history of Sacred Harp singing. The museum also makes an excellent addition to a trip to a West Georgia Sacred Harp singing.

At the Museum you can:

  • Peruse copies of rare Sacred Harp and other shape-note songbooks,
  • Explore the library and our collection of books about Sacred Harp history,
  • Listen to and watch audio and video recordings of hundreds of singings,
  • See detailed scrapbooks containing newspaper and magazine clippings from Sacred Harp events through the ages.

Sacred Harp Museum Committee: Nathan Rees, Jesse P. Karlsberg, and Charlene Wallace. Curator: Nathan Rees. Assistant Curator: Jesse P. Karlsberg. Historical Consultant: Christopher Sawula.

Donating to the Sacred Harp Museum

The Sacred Harp Museum gratefully accepts donations of songbooks, correspondence and personal papers, minutes, photographs, audio and video recordings, press clippings, and other material related to Sacred Harp singing. Donating such materials to the Sacred Harp Museum ensures that they will be preserved, archived, and made accessible to interested singers and scholars for generations to come. The museum features a dehumidifier to ensure the stability of fragile materials. The rarest items are protected in a fireproof storage cabinet.

Online Exhibitions

  • Sacred Harp Publishing Company Citations, curated by Karen Rollins. Since 1969, the Sacred Harp Publishing Company has awarded posthumous citations to “teachers, writers, or outstanding supporters and leaders of Sacred Harp music” who were company stockholders. This exhibition describes the history of the citation program, and lists all citation recipients.
  • National Sacred Harp Newsletter, 1985–1993, curated by Jesse P. Karlsberg. At its peak, the National Sacred Harp Newsletter reached the homes of a thousand Sacred Harp singers each month. This exhibition, which coincides with the launch of the Sacred Harp Publishing Company Newsletter, presents a growing collection of the National Newsletter‘s back issues.
  • “Melancholy Day”: Letters of Condolence after the Death of Thomas Jackson Denson, curated by Jesse P. Karlsberg. Sacred Harp singers from across the South wrote to Paine Denson sharing their memories after the death of his father, singing school teacher, leader, and composer Thomas Jackson Denson. These letters express the profound impact T. J. Denson had on the “hundreds, yea, thousands, of people throughout the country whose hearts [were] lacerated with grief” by his death.
  • “There Are More Singings Now Than Ever Before”: Hugh McGraw Addresses the Harpeth Valley Singers, curated by Nathan Rees and Jesse P. Karlsberg. In 1964, Hugh McGraw, then executive secretary of the Sacred Harp Publishing Company, gave a talk on the past, present, and future of Sacred Harp singing for the Harpeth Valley, Tennessee, Sacred Harp singers. This exhibition presents an excerpt from his talk.

Planning Your Visit and Driving Directions

The museum is open by appointment only. To inquire about visiting, e-mail John Plunkett, chairman of the board of the Sacred Harp Publishing Company.

From Carrollton, take U.S. 27 South out of the city and past the 166 Bypass 2 miles to Oak Grove Road, on your right. Turn right onto Oak Grove Road and the Sacred Harp Headquarters and Museum building and land will be on your left. You can also use this map of Oak Grove Road from Google Maps. Several hotels are conveniently close to our Museum in Carrollton and the immediate vicinity.

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