Although it's more Patsy Montana than Carrie Underwood, country music fans should not miss this wonderfully entertaining museum. Here, you can immerse yourself in the deep roots of country music. Savvy multimedia exhibits let visitors absorb bluegrass, country swing, rockabilly, Cajun, honky-tonk, and contemporary country music through personalized CD listening posts, interactive jukeboxes, and multi-media computer stations.
Elvis's gold-leafed Cadillac (a gift from Priscilla) is a top draw, but on my many return visits here, I always relish revisiting these artifacts: a crude banjo made of hand-split oak and groundhog hide; black-and-white film footage of Stan Laurel mugging with the Cumberland Ramblers in 1935; Jimmie Rodgers' guitar and trademark railroad brakeman's cap; and Bill Monroe's walking cane, personal Bible (with a joker playing card bookmark tucked inside), and his beloved 1923 Gibson F-5 mandolin. And, as if all of this wasn't more than a visitor could stand, the museum also showcases such down-home objects d'art as the kitschy cornfield from TV's Hee Haw -- complete with Junior Samples' denim overalls and Lulu Roman's plus-size gingham dress. The museum's next major exhibition is "Family Tradition: The Hank Williams Legacy," which will run from March 2008 until December 2009.
If you want to arrange a visit to the old RCA recording studio, where Elvis laid down a few hits, you'll need to sign up here at the Hall of Fame. The studio itself is located in the Music Row area of Nashville. Allow 2 to 3 hours.
- © Frommer's 2013
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- Highly Recommended 2010