Getting Your Country Music History Education In Nashville

Dated: 10/31/2017

Views: 986

by TJ Anderson

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This week, news broke that a new museum honoring a country music legend was in the works for Nashville: The Merle Haggard Museum and Merle's Meat + Three Saloon should be open for learning and dining by summer 2018, The Tennessean reported.

The saloon side, the paper says, will have “Southern comfort food with a twist of soul.” The museum side, meanwhile, is set to give insight into the life and career of one of country music’s greatest singers and storytellers, with instruments, clothing, memorabilia and more, spanning Haggard’s 79 years. (He passed away in 2016.)

Read more about the museum plans at

This’ll be an exciting and enlightening addition to the music-education landscape in Nashville, which is already vibrant — as it should be.

While we wait for the Haggard Museum to welcome us in, here are a few of the already-open museums and halls in Nashville that’ll let you home in on the intricacies of country music history.

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Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum

222 Fifth Avenue South, Nashville

If you want to understand country music — its history, its present, its future and the people and songs that define and propel it — there isn’t a single better place to go than the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum downtown. Current exhibits (as of this posting) span generations of country music talent, from Loretta Lynn to Shania Twain to Jason Aldean. The programs and performances are always world class too.

RCA Studio B 

1611 Roy Acuff Place, Nashville

Many of country music’s enduring hits — songs by Willie Nelson, Dolly Parton, Chet Atkins, Eddy Arnold and countless others — were captured right here in Nashville, at RCA Studio B, a “temple of sound” that’s been making music history since the ‘50s. Now leased in perpetuity to the Country Music Hall of Fame, it’s available for visitors to tour as part of their HoF experience, to learn about how songs were and are captured, and what went down inside those storied walls.

George Jones Museum

128 Second Avenue North, Nashville

Among the country stars with the most hits and the most amazing stories: George Jones, who died in 2013 after a long, legendary life. His namesake museum opened in 2015, letting fans look in on small pieces that made up a larger-than-life whole, from his suits, guitars and awards to the riding lawnmower he famously drove to the liquor store when then-wife Shirley Corley hid all the car keys.

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Johnny Cash Museum 

119 Third Avenue South, Nashville

A life that looms that large — not just in country music but in American culture — certainly needed and deserved its own museum. This celebration of the Man in Black opened in Nashville in 2013, and even long-devoted fans will find new sights and surprises there — it’s stocked with artifacts and effects spanning Cash’s life, from his earliest known letters to a handwritten manuscript of the last song he ever wrote.

Patsy Cline Museum

119 Third Avenue South, Second Level, Nashville

Country star Patsy Cline’s loss at 30 was a too-soon tragedy, but in that brief life, she left a major, lasting mark on the world of music. That’s captured and celebrated at the Patsy Cline Museum — which opened in 2017, above the Johnny Cash museum — with artifacts, personal possessions and lots of other pieces that let you into Cline’s world.

Musicians Hall of Fame & Museum 

401 Gay Street, Nashville

Marquee names tend to get all the attention, but the music we love wouldn’t be anything without the players who stand behind those stars, and the Musicians Hall of Fame ensures that we know their stories too. Inside the Hall (located at the Historic Nashville Auditorium), you can see tools of the trade used by master musicians across multiple genres, from famous folks like Jimi Hendrix to vital (but not quite as widely known) names like The Wrecking Crew. Among the instruments that made history you might see there: the Ludwig kit drummer Michael Shrieve played at Woodstock with Santana, and the piano Elton John used to write “Don’t Let the Sun go Down on Me.”

Ryman Auditorium 

116 Firth Avenue North, Nashville

Former (and still seasonal) home of the Grand Ole Opry and easily one of the best-sounding listening rooms in America, the Mother Church of Country Music’s history traces back to the 1800s, once a place of worship, now a place to worship music. Those walls have been witness to the talent of musicians from John Phillip Sousa to Johnny Cash to Jack White, and a Ryman tour — with a peek at their incredible exhibits — illuminates that singular history.

If you’re looking for a stroll through country music history, you can’t go wrong with any of these Nashville museums/spaces of historic import.

And if your love of history extends to homebuying, we can help you find the perfect historic home in Nashville. Just call or email TJ Anderson Homes, tell us about your must-have list, and we’ll get to work.

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TJ Anderson

TJ Anderson is a Nashville Realtor with Benchmark Realty who's helped countless clients both buy a home and sell a home in Nashville, Tennessee. He blogs about Nashville regularly, from Nashville-area....

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