This museum in downtown Nashville, Tennessee, is dedicated to the life and music of the Man in Black.
Dedicating an entire museum to a single musical artist is a tall task, but Johnny Cash is not your usual musician. Located in downtown Nashville on the first floor of a brick building along Third Avenue, the Johnny Cash Museum announces itself to passersby with a marquee bearing the legendary musician’s last name in four illuminated letters.
The museum’s examination of Cash’s career is thorough and the artifacts on display offer an insightful look into an artist who has been inducted into both the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and Country Music Hall of Fame. Allow at least an hour to explore, as there are moments where fans will want to slow down and take in the exhibits that trace Cash’s life, from his boyhood days in Arkansas, all the way to his late-career work, which found him covering songs by bands such as Nine Inch Nails and Soundgarden in his inimitable style.
One part of the museum examines Cash’s legendary performances at Folsom Prison and San Quentin during 1968 and 1969, respectively. Along with snippets of Cash performing on stage, artifacts on display include a pair of metal prison cups with a handwritten note from the musician attached to them: “These cups given to me by the warden of Folsom Prison – 1968, J.R.C.” Another section delves into “The Johnny Cash Show,” an ABC music variety program he hosted with his wife and lifelong partner, June Carter Cash, from 1968 to 1971, while a hallway lined with Cash album covers illustrates his prolific recording career.
Once you’re in downtown Nashville, the Country Music Hall of Fame is just a short walk away, as is the Ryman Auditorium, the original home of the Grand Ole Opry, where Cash first met June Carter backstage in 1956. 119 Third Ave. S., Nashville, Tennessee 37201, 615/256-1777, johnnycashmuseum.com
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