Music museums are the perfect places for fans to learn more about different genres while geeking out over unique memorabilia and facts about their favorite artists. Despite common knowledge, there are actually a ton of museums nationwide dedicated to the history of country music.
Whether you’re interested in visiting the home of Patsy Cline, seeing one of Blake Shelton’s first guitars or checking out an exhibit on Buck Owen’s stage outfits, there is definitely a museum out there for you.
Here is our list of country music museums worth visiting this summer.
11. George Jones Museum
Located in downtown Nashville, the George Jones Museum is a must-see for fans of the legendary Country Music Hall of Fame member. Fans can learn all about Jones’ life, purchase George Jones White Lightning Whiskey and see the Possum’s famous John Deere lawnmower. Visitors can also enjoy a view of Music City’s beautiful riverfront from the rooftop bar.
10. Birthplace of Country Music Museum
The Birthplace of Country Music Museum spotlights Bristol, Tennessee and Bristol, Virginia’s role in the development of commercial country music. The museum, located in Virginia, focuses on the 1927 Bristol Sessions recordings (the Carter Family, Jimmie Rodgers, Ernest V. Stonemason and more) and on how evolving sound technology impacted their success.
9. Hank Williams Museum
Located in Montgomery, Alabama, the Hank Williams Museum is a shrine to one of country music’s best. Included in the artifact collection are items of his clothing, signed sheet music and Hank’s 1952 baby blue Cadillac. Furthermore, the museum is only a few minutes away from the cemetery where Hank Williams was buried.
8. Johnny Cash Museum
This award-winning tourist hot-spot is a Johnny Cash lover’s dream. Despite its smaller side, the museum packs a historical punch and is filled to the brim with pieces of Cash’s life. Visitors can enjoy seeing live performance footage, guitars Cash played, awards he won and more. It also has a rockin’ gift shop.
7. Jimmie Rodgers Museum
Mississippi native Jimmie Rodgers is considered one of the founding fathers of country music and his hometown of Meridian hosts a music festival each year in his honor. While in town for the festival, visitors can stop by the Jimmie Rodgers Museum (which was built to resemble a train depot) for a tour.
6. Chasing Rainbows in Dollywood
If you are heading to Dollywood, Dolly Parton’s theme park located in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, be sure to stop by on-site museum, Chasing Rainbows. Chasing Rainbows houses stories and memorabilia from Dolly’s life and career. It also features costumes from Dolly’s movie career including 9 to 5 and Straight Talk, a few of her lavishly sequined gowns and many of the awards that she has won over the years. Furthermore, Dollywood is nestled in the Smoky Mountains and is a great place to take in the beautiful Tennessee scenery.
5. Patsy Cline Historic House
Visitors to Winchester, Virginia can stop and take a tour of the home that Patsy Cline lived in from the ages of 16-21. Originally a two story log home built in the 1800s, it remains eerily similar to the time when Patsy lived in it. The house is furnished with unique personal items and also includes a gift shop.
4. Buck Owens’ Crystal Palace
Buck Owens’ Crystal Palace in Bakersfield, California is part museum, part steakhouse and part live music venue. The museum portion is filled with items that chronicle the country star’s life. Memorabilia in the museum includes his 1964 Billboard music award, Buck’s first Telecaster guitar and of course, many of his iconic suits.
3. Heart of Texas Country Music Museum
The Heart of Texas Country Music Museum, located in Brady, Texas, is filled with stage costumes, musical instruments, autographs and posters from over 100 artists. This niche museum is home to an abundance of items that are sure to peak Texas country fans’ interest. For example, visitors can take a look at Jim Reeves’ 1956 Flxible Tour Bus, a rhinestone belt of Barbara Mandrell’s, a white cowboy hat of Carl Smith’s and more.
2. Coal Miner’s Daughter Museum
Experience the legend of Loretta Lynn in the museum located on her ranch in Hurricane Mills, TN. The 18,000 square foot museum features mementos from not only Lynn’s life, but also that of her family and friends. At the ranch, you can also tour Loretta’s childhood home.
1. Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum
The mothership of all country music museums is the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in downtown Nashville. The museum not only covers all decades and sub-genres, but is also home to the official Hall of Fame. Whether you are a fan of Elvis, Taylor Swift, Blake Shelton or George Strait, this place has something for everyone and is incredibly interactive. In addition to its history-packed exhibits, the museum hosts tons of public programming like songwriter sessions, children’s workshops, instrument demonstrations and more.