Some of the biggest stars in country music turned out for a red carpet event Thursday, April 23, to commemorate the grand opening of the George Jones Museum, celebrating the life and work of one of the icons of country music. More than 800 people turned out for the gala event.
Among those seen walking the red carpet were Naomi Judd, Ricky Skaggs, Lee Greenwood, Moe Bandy, Joe Stampley, T. Graham Brown, John Rich, T.G. Sheppard, Dierks Bentley, and Lorrie Morgan. Country music great Jan Howard strolled the museum and shared first-hand stories of the years she knew Jones. But the biggest star of the evening was Jones himself and a musical legacy spanning more than 50 years.
The museum is the result of years’ worth of effort by Jones’s wife, Nancy, who announced the museum’s creation last fall. The grand opening corresponds to the second anniversary of Jones’s passing, April 26. The new museum is a world-class exhibition that documents Jones’s life and cements his position in the history of country music.
“I was so touched to see how all of George’s friends came out tonight,” said Nancy Jones. “George always thought he didn’t have any friends and he’d tell me to build a museum but no one would come. Well, here we are, and everybody came!”
An American music icon, George Jones was born in Saratoga, Texas in 1931, into a family that included eight siblings. Over the course of a career spanning fifty years, Jones recorded a string of hit songs, including “White Lightning,” “The Race is On,” “He Stopped Loving Her Today,” and “I Don’t Need No Rockin’ Chair.” He and his wife, Nancy, married in 1983. His storied career includes more than 150 hits, 15 of which hit #1 on the charts. Jones died in 2013 at age 81.
Also among the museum’s first attendees was Jones’s sister, Helen Scroggins. Now 93, she is the last remaining of eight Jones siblings. Nashville Mayor Karl Dean, U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn, and Tennessee Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey were among the dozens of celebrities, government officials, and hundreds of music industry professionals who turned out to honor Jones and his legacy.
Spanning more than 44,000 square feet, the George Jones Museum features exhaustive displays of memorabilia and photos, video displays and interactive experiences. The museum also includes a 40-seat, rocking chair theatre that shows clips from Jones’s television broadcasts, concert appearances, and interviews.
In addition to the displays of Jones memorabilia and history in the museum and a lobby gift shop, the George Jones Museum includes two restaurants, a public exhibition space and event center, and a roof-top bar that overlooks the Cumberland River and LP Field, home of the Tennessee Titans.
The museum opened to the public Friday, April 24. Tickets are $20 for adults and $15 for children ages 6-15. The George Jones Museum is located at 128 Second Avenue North, just one block off of Broadway.