The New House of Cash - The Johnny Cash Museum

The Johnny Cash Museum.jpg

Submitted by Don Graham

“ Hello. I’m Johnny Cash.”  Seeing this in print, any Cash fan will automatically hear this country music legend’s deep baritone voice saying these familiar words.

There really are not a lot of artists that warrant having a museum all to themselves but Johnny Cash is one who not only warrants but deserves such a venue. On May 29th & 30th, 2013, the Johnny Cash Museum opened in the heart of downtown Nashville, Tennessee, just off of the famous Broadway strip. Apparently the creator Bill Miller was looking for a spot on Broadway for the museum but found a prime location on  3rd Avenue, about 500 feet from the main strip. If you think about it “off Broadway” is perfect location for someone like The Man in Black. He was never really one ‘walk the line’ in Nashville. Right from jump street he recorded what he wanted, how he wanted and wasn’t about to be told what to do. A little off the main drag. Willie and Waylon get credit for the Outlaw movement but for me, Johnny Cash was the original Outlaw. He is also a member in three major  Hall of Fames; The Nashville  Songwriters Hall of Fame, The Country Music Hall of Fame and the Rock 'N' Roll Hall of Fame as well as the Rockabilly Hall of Fame and the Gospel Music Hall of Fame.

Grand Opening May 29-30 2013Grand Opening May 29-30 2013Johnny and his wife, June Carter Cash, died months apart in 2003 in Nashville. His house burned down in 2007, leaving fans without any real destination to visit, according to Shannon Miller, who founded the museum with her husband, Bill.  She said. "We really needed to bring it back to Tennessee. We needed to have something for all of the fans. We're just really happy to be able to tell the fans there's a place to come celebrate Johnny Cash." Bill Miller, a close friend of the Cash family, donated his own expansive collection of Cash-related rarities, which he had been piecing together one item at a time for forty years. "Every artifact here helps to tell the story, and this needed to be in Nashville"  Miller said.

There is an old Martin guitar with a folded dollar bill stuck through the strings: In the 1950s, before he had a drummer, Cash used a dollar bill to create a percussive effect when he strummed his guitar. There is a display filled with family photos and artifacts from the Cash hardscrabble 1940’s days in Dyess, Arkansas. There was a radio like the one the family used to listen to the "Grand Ole Opry." There was Johnny's Future Farmers of America card, and a school yearbook page.

Johnny Cash Museum Listening BoothsJohnny Cash Museum Listening Booths

There is a stone wall that was part of Johnny and June's Hendersonville home before it burned. There are tin cups from Folsom Prison, where Cash recorded a classic album. There are stage outfits, awards, gold and platinum albums, and a remarkable collection of instruments from Cash, The Carter Family and supporting musicians Luther Perkins, Marshall Grant and W.S. "Fluke" Holland.

Guitar DisplayGuitar DisplayThe Johnny Cash Museum is an amazing collection of artifacts, memorabilia guitars, wardrobe and hand written letters and lyrics. It almost feels like you’re walking into Johnny’s house at times, with all his most personal effects there for the viewing. His voice is constantly present with his most famous songs being pumped through the venue.

So if you’re planning a visit to Music City U.S.A and your places to visit list include  visiting the Ryman Auditorium and The Country Music Hall of Fame, be sure and add The Johnny Cash Museum to your itinerary, it’s a must see!

Editor’s Note: The Johnny Cash Museum is located at 119 Third Avenue South in Nashville, Tennessee. September 12th , 2011 a stone wall, along with the iron gates and railing were taken from Johnny and June’s Hendersonville home  and moved to Nashville to start the building of the Man in Black’s Museum. The grand opening was May 29th & 30th, 2013.