The Patsy Cline Museum opens to the public Friday, April 7, adding another attraction to the “must-see” list for Nashville tourists and locals paying homage to the personal and professional life of the icon.
“In her short nine years as a recording artist from ‘55 to ‘63, she forever changed the voice of country music, the role of female artists and influenced performers across all genres,” said founder Bill Miller. “To this very day, artists still cover her hits and you’ll hear her recordings used in motion pictures and TV series. She deserved her own museum as she continues to transcend generations of fans. We are honored to work with Patsy’s children to preserve her legacy.”
Located at 119 Third Avenue South, in Nashville, the Patsy Cline Museum houses the largest collection of Patsy Cline artifacts in the world featuring personal letters, photographs, costumes, clothing and household furnishings from her Nashville dream house that have been locked away for more than 50 years.
“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,” said Julie Fudge. “Since the passing of our father, 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.”
Born Virginia Patterson Hensley in the small town of Winchester, Virginia, Patsy was reared on church music and began touring the area performing in variety and talent shows as a teen. Gaining notoriety via regional disc jockeys and radio appearances, she would join Jimmy Dean as a regular on the “Town and Country Jamboree” airing daily out of Arlington in 1954. By this time, she was a staple on the night club performance circuit donning the fringe western wear designs of her mother. She took the name Cline when she was married to her then husband Gerald Edward Cline from 1953-1957.
Patsy landed her first recording contract in 1955 with Four Star Records, but would see her success soar under Decca releasing her debut project in 1957. In her five and half year charting career, she scored hits like Walkin’ After Midnight, I Fall to Pieces, Crazy, She’s Got You, Leavin’ On Your Mind, So Wrong and many others. This Billboard Award winner became a member of the Grand Ole Opry in 1960 and broke many ceilings for women. She was the first female to receive headline billing over her male tour mates and the first to not only anchor a Las Vegas regency, but also the first to perform in NY’s Carnegie Hall. In her personal life, she had two children with her second husband Charles (Charlie) Dick, a daughter Julia (Julie) (1958) and son Allen Randolph (1961). Patsy died at the age of 30 when the plane she had boarded after a show in Kansas City, Kansas, crashed about 90 miles outside of Nashville in Camden, Tennessee.
Posthumously, she would become the first solo female inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1973. To date, the RIAA has certified one Diamond (sales of over ten million), three Platinum (sales of over one million) and four Gold (sales of over 500,000) albums. She was been portrayed in film by both Beverly D’Angelo (Coal Miner’s Daughter) and Jessica Lange (Sweet Dreams). Her music continues to land placements in TV (“Blindspot” , “Pretty Little Liars”  and “Bates Motel” ), film (“Assassin’s Creed”  and “Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials” ) and video games (“Deadpool”  & “Twisted Metal” ).
Guests will travel back to her humble beginnings in Winchester, Virginia and see family photos, possessions and even the very booth she waitressed as a teenager at Gaunt’s Drugstore. Never-before-seen costumes that exhibit her transition from western cowgirl to singing headliner will also be on display. Many of the costumes exhibited are creations designed and sewn by her mother, Hilda.
Guests will have the unique opportunity to step inside Patsy’s famed Rec Room, where many entertainers dropped in to jam and party in the dream home Patsy purchased on Nella Drive in Goodlettsville, Tennessee. The room contains original furnishings owned and used by Cline and her husband Charlie Dick. A vintage jukebox broadcasts her mega-hit “Crazy,” highlighting its distinction as the most programmed jukebox song of all time. A bio film also documents Patsy’s career and is hosted by noted actress Beverly D’Angelo, who was nominated for a Golden Globe for her portrayal of Patsy Cline in the 1980 film “Coal Miner’s Daughter.”
The Patsy Cline Museum is located on the second level of the building which houses the world renowned Johnny Cash Museum. Guests are educated and entertained via cutting-edge audio and touch screen technology featuring Cline’s numerous audio and video performances. The museum is open 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. CT daily and admission will be $18.95. For more information, be sure to check out www.patsymuseum.com or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/Patsyclinemuseum and Twitter: @ClineMuseum.
Jessica Blankenship is the owner and founder of Kentucky Country Music website with over 20 years experience in music journalism, concert planning, photography, and promotion. Jessica is a Kentucky Colonel and alumni of the 2019 Leadership Kentucky BRIGHT Class and a recipient of the Laurel County’s Ten Under 40 Award. Listen to her each week on WFKY on Friday mornings for the Nashville News Roundup.