Nashville Tennessee is notably known for The Grand Ole Opry and the Country Music Hall of Fame, but some do not realize it is also the home of the famous Johnny Cash Museum. Located at 119 Third Avenue South Nashville, the Johnny Cash Museum should be in every country and folk music lover’s bucket list.
Though my son with autism did not know much about the artist before the visit, he enjoyed learning about the “Man in Black.” Furthermore, after visiting, we all developed a new appreciation for Johnny Cash’s life, legacy, and music.
The Johnny Cash Museum opened in April 2013 and houses memorabilia from different stages of his life. Some of the items include handwritten lyrics, information on films he was in, and his marriages to Vivian Liberto and June Carter.
The museum also has 25 of the outfits he wore on stage, information from his prison concert tour, and some of his favorite guitars. Cindy Cash, his daughter, is quoted as saying “Whatever anybody needs to know about my dad that they don’t know already is in that museum.”
About Johnny Cash
Johnny Cash was born J.R Cash on February 26, 1932. He continued with this name until he enlisted in the Airforce, where he had to have a “real” name, not initials. At this time, Johnny chose his name we know him by today.
Shortly after leaving the Airforce Johnny married his first wife, Vivian Liberto. During their tumultuous marriage, Johnny was plagued with alcoholism, excessive drug use, and alleged affairs. They divorced in 1966. One of the affairs is said to be with June Carter, to whom he was often performing onstage with, during tours.
March 1, 1968, Johnny did, in fact, marry June Carter. Together they shared a son named John Carter Cash. Throughout their marriage, Johnny continued to fight his addictions, while June stayed by his side. June and Johnny stayed married for the rest of their lives.
Considering Johnny Cash was in and out of jail a total of seven times, it is surprising he never actually did prison time. But Cash did go to prisons to perform. From these ‘prison concert tours’, he recorded two records that went to number 1 on the Billboard Country Music Charts. They were Johnny Cash at Folsom Prison and Johnny Cash at San Quentin Prison.
Visitors have two options to get tickets- online or at the museum. To avoid sitting in the long lines, it is better to buy the tickets ahead of time.Current ticket prices are a bit pricey : General Admission: $18.95, AAA: $17.95, Military, Senior: $17.95, Youth (6-15 (with adult admission): $14.95, 5 & under Free (with adult admission). But they also offer group rates and have occasional Groupon deals.
Visitors to the Johnny Cash Museum can listen to a 60-minute auto tour of the museum. There are also listening booths, throughout the museum that plays radio and TV shows as well as actual concerts. At the end of the tour, visitors can watch recorded performances in a small theater.
If you are hungry while touring the Johnny Cash Museum, you should head over to their café. Guests will find a wide variety of food and drink options.
Autism Travel Tips
- When visiting the Johnny Cash Museum, I would recommend going first thing in the morning. Considering they open at 9 am, parents to kids with autism will want plenty of time to check out each piece of memorabilia with fewer people around. The place gets very crowded by midday!
- While the memorabilia are mostly behind glass or taped off, there is still plenty of interaction in the way of the audio tours, and the listening booths. The items here are not meant to be touched, to preserve them for years to come.
- Parents should introduce their kids to Johnny Cash music or TV shows before visiting. Doing so will allow children to enjoy the museum better.
- Before leaving the museum, make sure to check out the museum souvenir shop stocked with hats, travel cups, T-shirts, coffee mugs, decks of cards and so much more.
- I would recommend 1-2 hours to enjoy this museum thoroughly. The time will fly by as you are learning and listening to Johnny Cash.