Emotions ran high on Thursday morning as The Johnny Cash Museum welcomed Joanne and Tommy Cash, Johnny’s brother and sister, to walk through the museum for the first time.
“No death here,” said Bill Miller, founder of the museum, “Johnny is still alive and with us.”
Joined by family and friends, the love for The Man In Black was palpable throughout the building, both from the family to their departed brother and from the fans to their departed hero.
It’s been a long time coming, to say the least. The museum is the passion project of Miller, a renowned archivist, biographer, friend and fan of Cash. Miller, who holds one of the largest private Johnny Cash collections on record, first met Cash at age 12, when he snuck backstage at a concert. Security threw him out before finally realizing the futility of continuously escorting him off the premises and granting him a backstage pass for life. Call it determination, or chutzpah or just plain stubborn but what began as adolescent resolve would begin a 30 year journey, culminating in today’s grand opening.
As Miller led the exclusive crowd through the museum yesterday morning, he recounted the many moments of doubt he had as he pressed forward. Failure to secure spacing, deals that were left unfinished, building violations; there were times it seemed that his vision would not be realized.
Miller and his team persevered and the outcome and the outcome exceeded expectations so much, Joanne Cash could hardly contain herself upon walking through the entranceway.
“The memories are just so real,” she was overheard murmuring as she looked at photos of her and her siblings from their childhood in Dyess, AK.
Memorabilia from all aspects of Johnny’s life abound. Report cards and photos from early life, Grammy’s and accolades and costumes and clippings from his career and, of course, extremely personal items from he and June’s storied love affair. The couple’s marriage license, furniture, handwritten notes and a valentine (see photo) are all showcased within the museum. In addition, a wall constructed entirely from Cash’s house (which burnt down in 2006) serves as background for the couple’s china hutch and the jumpsuit Cash is wearing in the infamous “flipping the bird” photo is also on display.
Grand Avenue is proud to sponsor the Johnny Cash Museum, which officially has opened it’s doors today. It is located at 119 3rd Ave S, Nashville. More information can be found at: https://www.facebook.com/johnnycashmuseum.
Tags: Carl Haley, Country Music, downtown Nashville, Joanne Cash, Johnny Cash, June Carter, museum, music row, outlaw country, Tommy Cash