Ryman Auditorium Adds New Artifacts to its Rock Hall at the Ryman Exhibit

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photo courtesy of Ryman Auditorium/Catherine Powell

Nashville’s historic Ryman Auditorium has added new artifacts to its “Rock Hall at the Ryman” exhibit, which celebrates the Ryman’s mark on rock & roll history. The partnership with Cleveland’s Rock & Roll Hall of Fame brings unique items to the Ryman from Rock Hall Inductees Ray Charles, Bo Diddley, Etta James, Brenda Lee, Lynyrd Skynyrd, The Moody Blues, R.E.M. and Diana Ross.

While the Ryman is known as the Mother Church of Country Music, “Rock Hall at the Ryman” honors the 100+ Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Inductees who have performed on the Ryman’s hallowed stage throughout its storied history. Also featured in the exhibit are country music icons like Johnny Cash and Hank Williams, who were early practitioners of what would become rock & roll music. In 2022, the Ryman was designated as an official Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Landmark and joined 11 other rock & roll institutions throughout the country including Austin City Limits and Whisky a Go Go, among others.

New exhibit items include:

Striped jumpsuit owned and worn by Diana Ross. Ross last performed at the Ryman in 2019, opening the show amid flashing lights and a powerful rendition of “I’m Coming Out.” The performance by the Supremes icon saw multiple costume changes and a cascade of top-tier hits which included “Baby Love” and “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough.”

Dyna-Sonic snare drum from R.E.M.’s Bill Berry’s original drum kit. In 2004, R.E.M. undertook a 29-city tour that focused on playing smaller venues. The average venue size was 3,500 to 4,000 seats, which left the Ryman’s 2,362 seats very much on the smaller end of that spectrum.

Brown striped tuxedo worn by Ray Charles. Charles appeared at the Ryman as part of the 1970 season of The Johnny Cash Show, where he performed two Cash standards, “I Walk the Line” and “Ring of Fire,” for the live audience.

Blue satin dress made to be worn by Brenda Lee during the filming of “Smokey and the Bandit II.” Lee’s first Nashville performance was on the Ryman stage in 1957. A rapidly rising star, Lee easily found a home in the auditorium and went on to regularly perform as a guest on the Grand Ole Opry, The Johnny Cash Show, and most recently, as a special guest of Tanya Tucker during her 2022 headlining appearance.

Navy blue 1976 Lynyrd Skynyrd tour jacket and band-signed Remo drumhead used during Lynyrd Skynyrd’s November 13, 2022, performance at the Ryman.

Entry to “Rock Hall at the Ryman” is included in all daytime tour tickets at the Ryman, which also features other star-studded exhibits, Soul of Nashville immersive theater experience, access to Johnny Cash’s legendary tour bus “JC Unit One” and a souvenir photo on the Ryman’s historic stage. More information about “Rock Hall at the Ryman” and upcoming shows can be found at www.ryman.com.

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