By Whitney Pastorek
Updated May 15, 2010 at 05:32 PM EDT
Mark Humphrey/AP Images

Image Credit: Mark Humphrey/AP ImagesNow that the 46 inches of water from the crippling Nashville flood have drained from the hallowed stage of the Grand Ole Opry house, staff members and outside crews (including the Chicago Conservation Center) have been working around the clock to assess and repair the damage.

News came this week that many of the Opry’s most treasured artifacts had been moved to high ground before the water rose, but no specifics were given. According to yesterday’s press release from the Opry, those items include the long-running program’s audio archives, as well as a copy of the Nashville Banner announcing WSM radio’s first broadcast day, the steamboat whistle Opry founder George D. Hay blew to signal the beginning of Opry shows, the fiddle Roy Acuff played during his first Opry performance, and a pair of shoes Minnie Pearl wore for 50 years of performances. Best of all, the famous circle of wood in the center of the stage — cut from the original stage of the Ryman Auditorium — is in “remarkably good condition,” according to Opry president Steve Buchanan.

Instruments and photos are being restored by experts, and salvageable items from the backstage lockers are being returned to their owners. And in a nod to the facility’s new history, the stage door featured in a widely-circulated photo — up to its ears in floodwater — has been removed and treated so that the high-water mark will be preserved. “The stage door will no doubt become a historic symbol representing this extraordinary event,” Buchanan said in the release.

It’s great news, Mixers — but Nashville still needs your help and generosity. Numerous tours and artists — from Country Throwdown to Jerry Seinfeld — are donating ticket proceeds to the city, and don’t forget to tune in for GAC’s Music City Keep On Playin’ telethon tomorrow night.(Follow the Music Mix on Twitter: @EWMusicMix.)

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