Since opening in 2013, downtown Nashville’s Johnny Cash Museum has earned several prestigious honors, including the GEM rating from AAA. Now, Bill Miller, the founder of the museum dedicated to the Man in Black, has plans to pay tribute to one of country music’s most iconic women, Patsy Cline, with a museum of her own.
Miller and his wife, Shannon, revealed preliminary details Friday of a venture to be entirely funded and operated by the Miller family organization. Construction of the space, which will be located directly above the Johnny Cash Museum at 119 Third Avenue, is scheduled to begin in June. The expansive space, occupying several thousand square feet, will feature the largest collection of rare Patsy Cline artifacts in the world, with state-of-the-art interactive audio and touch-screen video technology.
The family of Patsy Cline will furnish many never-before-seen pieces from their personal archive, including many of the “Walkin’ After Midnight” singer’s costumes, awards, letters, furniture, photographs and other personal possessions.
Julie Fudge, Patsy Cline’s daughter with Charlie Dick, who died last November, said of the project, “I am very happy to speak on behalf of my brothers, Randy and Chip and in honor of the legacy of my mother Patsy Cline. Since the passing of our father last fall, this is our first step together in continuing to share Mom’s music, life and story, as we feel Dad would have. We are thrilled to have the opportunity to partner with and experience what Bill will present to old and new fans alike.”
A key figure in country music who influenced generations of singers after her, Patsy Cline was an integral part of what became known as the “Nashville sound,” blending country and pop music together to reach an audience that previously viewed country music as an unsophisticated “hillbilly” genre. With hits including “Crazy,” “I Fall to Pieces” and “She’s Got You,” accompanied by her powerful vocal style and tough exterior, Cline eclipsed the success of the most popular female country singer before her, Kitty Wells, earning country and pop hits up to and after her tragic death in a plane crash in March 1963. The 1967 compilation, Patsy Cline’s Greatest Hits has been certified diamond for sales in excess of 10 million copies. In 1985, Jessica Lange portrayed Cline in the big-screen biopic, Sweet Dreams, named for one of her most popular songs.
An opening date for the Patsy Cline Museum has yet to be announced.