05-12-18 Ryman Auditorium and Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum

Saturday we decided to go to the Ryman Auditorium and then to the Country Music Hall of Fame Museum. Two different events in one day!   Fortunately they were only a few blocks apart and while the Ryman is filled with history, it wouldn’t take long to tour. Arriving for our self guided tour shortly after it opened, it is clear this is a special place. As a result of a tent revival experience, Thomas G. Ryman, captain of several riverboats and a well to do man in Nashville, decided to build a permanent structure for the Union Gospel Tabernacle.

A painting of what it might have looked like when it was just completed.

This was to be places were all people could gather and worship – along with be entertained. Upon his death in 1904 it was renamed the Ryman Auditorium. Over the next 20 years or so, the Auditorium limped along until Lala C. Naff took the help and started booking various acts.

Displays of some of the performers who have been on the stage of the Ryman.

It wasn’t very long before she had made a repetition of bring quality entertainment to the Nashville community. In June of 1943, the radio show The Grande Ole Opry moved in to do it’s weekly broadcast both providing a steady income stream and making the Ryman a household name across the country.


When you walk through the doors of the historic Ryman Auditorium, one thing becomes clear right away: this isn’t just another nightly music venue, and it’s so much more than a daytime tourist stop. This place is hallowed ground. This is the exact spot where bluegrass was born,

This is really the official birth place of Bluegrass music.

where Johnny Cash met June Carter, where souls were saved and a slice of history was nearly lost. It was right here that country music found an audience beyond its own back porch, and countless careers took off as deals were signed on napkins and paper scraps backstage.

The upper level – the entire place holds something like 2,900 people.
All the seats are really church pews – don’t think the hard wood would be comfy after a while.
Here we are on the upper level of the auditorium

Showing it’s age,

Janeen with a statue of Minni Pearl
Displays on the upper level held items from some of the performers at the place.

it was closed and the Grand Ole Opry House was opened across town and the doors closed. It was saved from the wrecking ball and restored 2012 and brought back into prominence with performances again.

After the Ryman, we walked the several blocks to The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum.

Entrance sign on the outside of the building.
Here we are at the entrance to the Museum

Chartered in 1964, the museum has amassed one of the world’s most extensive musical collections. As the collection continued to grow, a new building was opened in 2001 to house the collection and make it more accessible to the public. In the museum’s core exhibition, Sing Me Back Home: A Journey Through Country Music, we were immersed in the history and sounds of country music, its origins and traditions, and the stories and voices of many of its architects. The story is revealed through artifacts, photographs, and text panels, recorded sound, vintage video, and interactive touchscreens.

Just as we got off the elevator, on the 3rd floor, was an entire section dedicated to Loretta Lynn.

Loretta Lynn had an entire area dedicated to her life.

Starting from her early Kentucky years through a west coast pathway to stardom, it was a huge collection of things – dresses, sheet music, notes, photographs, musical instruments – lots and lots of stuff. It was an interesting introduction to the life of one of Countries’ most memorable performers.

The wall on the left had posters and posters and posters – the display areas on the right were part of the historical collection.

From there we wondered around learning more about Country Music then you could ever want! Displays of the early pioneers of the music to modern day were represented. Many with displays of special clothing designed by Nudie Cohn plus the

Front of Webb Pierce car.
Inside of the car – silver dollars on the saddle in the middle.

1962 Pontiac Bonneville convertible that he customized for Webb Pierce. Elvis Presley’s 1960 Solid Gold” Cadillac limousine was also on display. With hundreds of historic musical instruments, including Maybelle Carter’s Gibson L-5, Earl Scrugge’s banjo, Bob Wills’s fiddle and Bill Monroe’s mandolin

bill Monroe’s Gibson F-5 on display

there were things everywhere.

Gram Parsons’ legendary Nudie suit, on display at the Country Music Hall of Fame
A close up of the front of the Nudie Suit
Lots of interesting guitars where on display
Pairing of cloths and instruments for a number of people were on display.
All of the inductees into the Country Music Hall of Fame have a plaque in this room.
Another display of folks
A display of some of the early country music performers.

The audio tour was well worth the extra cost and we spent the better part of 3 hours touring the building. It was well worth the time and effort to visit.

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