exterior of Johnny Cash museum

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A museum dedicated to the Man in Black opened in Nashville, Tennessee. The Johnny Cash Museum, a block off the fabled Broadway music district, almost brings the man back to life through artful displays of recordings, artifacts and memories.

The first display is a series of pylons devoted to each decade of Johnny Cash’s musical career; an imbedded iPad allows visitors to select four different music videos for each decade, allowing one to watch Cash’s career progression from up-and-coming star to American legend.

johnny cash museum nashville interior

One poignant video in his last decade highlights one of his last performances with his wife, June Carter Cash. It’s clear that they both are ailing, but once the music starts they each start swaying to the beat and belting out the song, revealing their decades of professionalism.

Interesting tidbits of Cash’s life are shared. Among them, in the 1950s he was a radio operator monitoring Soviet military traffic for the United States Air Force while stationed in Germany, and was the first Westerner to relay the news of Stalin’s death.

Cash’s deeply religious feelings are on display including a copy of his personal Bible and a documentary film he recorded in Israel. Snippets of this film are shown in a 20-seat theater along with clips from his brief movie career.

johnny cash museum nashville guitar

The museum accesses a treasure trove of Cash’s personal memorabilia, including outfits he wore on stage, guitars and notes from his songwriting. He is the only person to be enshrined in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Country Music Hall of Fame and Songwriting Hall of Fame.

On September 12, 2013 Johnny Cash will have been gone for ten years; but at the Johnny Cash Museum in Nashville, the Man in Black still looms larger than life.

Visiting the Johnny Cash Museum

Address: 119 Third Avenue South, Nashville, Tennessee 37201

Hours: 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily.

Website: For further information go to the Johnny Cash Museum.

Time to allow: About an hour.

Who should go? Lovers of country music, roots music, rock and roll and Americana.

Is it worth it? At $17 for most adults it’s not cheap, but that’s the going rate for attractions in Nashville. However, the museum is thorough in its storytelling and offers a depth of personal memorabilia related to June Carter and Johnny Cash that won’t be found elsewhere.

What’s your favorite Johnny Cash song?

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