Marty Stuart recently unveiled plans for a hometown museum, concert venue and educational center called the Congress of Country Music. He shared blueprints for the Philadelphia, Miss. facility on Wed., Jan. 31 at the State Capitol in Jackson.
The planned facility incorporates the historic Ellis Theater. It already carries endorsements by the Smithsonian, Grammy Museum and Library of Congress.
“Congress means ‘gathering place,’ and that is exactly what we intend to create here,” Stuart said to Jackson-based WAPT-TV. “The Congress will be a beacon to country music fans, history lovers and all those invested in the future of American music.”
Stuart ranks among the foremost collectors of country music memorabilia. His over 20,000 item collection includes musical instruments, stage outfits and other rare artifacts spanning the history of country music. Stuart witnessed a lot of this history first-hand as a young bandmate of Lester Flatt and Johnny Cash. In addition, his renown photography skills helped preserve the music he loves.
“I began collecting as part of a crusade to save and carry forward country music culture,” Stuart said to WAPT-TV. “It was a job worth undertaking because it touched my heart. It is my hope that all who come to the Congress of Country Music will be moved.”
Something like Stuart’s traveling “Way Out West” exhibit, which chronicles the West Coast country, folk and rock music scenes he glamorized on an album bearing the same title, should give fans an idea of what a permanent Stuart-curated exhibit might resemble.
For a taste of Stuart and his Fabulous Superlatives’ musical nods to country’s past, catch them later this year on Chris Stapleton’s All-American Road Show.