By M. Scott Morris/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – Sometimes, treasures become trash simply because their value isn’t recognized.
The Tupelo Automobile Museum is filled with classic cars that could’ve turned to rust many years ago.
Until the end of June, the museum also will feature costumes, guitars and memorabilia that once belonged to Hank Williams, Patsy Cline, Dolly Parton and other country music legends.
It’s all courtesy of Mississippi’s own Marty Stuart, who had a big thought while eating at a Hard Rock Café in London.
“It matters and it means something. The Beatles suit is really cool, but so is Porter Wagoner’s,” he said.
Stuart spoke those words in one of several video presentations that accompany the exhibit, “Sparkle and Twang: Marty Stuart’s American Musical Odyssey.”
“Marty Stuart is very much a historian,” said Renée White, curator of the exhibit which was first displayed at the Tennessee State Museum. “He loves country music history, in particular.”
Stuart returned to the U.S. and began to amass his collection of memorabilia: Hank Williams’ pistol, Waylon Jennings’ signature guitar, Patsy Cline’s hand-drawn costume ideas, and much more.
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The exhibit officially opens at 10 a.m. Friday as part of a series of events to commemorate the 75th anniversary of Elvis Presley’s birth.
“It’s up now, and we’ve had a lot of people come through to look at it,” said Cindy Hale, the Tupelo Automobile Museum’s marketing director. “They love it. It just looks great.”
Until 2006, the items were stored in a nondescript shopping mall in Tennessee.
Now, hand-written lyrics by Johnny Cash – “Don’t make a movie about me, but if you do, I’ll watch it twice” – are on display alongside George Jones’ boots and Jimmie Rodgers’ briefcase.
If not for Stuart, these pieces of history could’ve moldered away in closets and attics, not to mention landfills.
“All of this could’ve been lost,” White said, “but he knew it was important. It’s an amazing collection.”
Contact M. Scott Morris at (662) 678-1589 or firstname.lastname@example.org.