It was backstage at the Mother Church that one of Country Music’s most celebrated love stories began. On the night of Johnny Cash’s Grand Ole Opry debut on July 7, 1956, a 27-year-old June Carter bumped into a 24-year-old Johnny Cash backstage at Ryman Auditorium. A smitten Cash reportedly told Carter that night he knew he was going to marry her someday. The two would go on to marry and continue to perform at the Ryman throughout their careers.
The Ryman is celebrating the 65th anniversary of that historic night with a special pop-up exhibit featuring artifacts from both the Ryman and Johnny Cash Museum collections. Items on display include a black Oscar Schmidt autoharp, owned by Maybelle Carter in the 1960s and later played by Carter Cash during live performances. Rounding out the exhibit, the Cash Museum has loaned a dress worn by Carter Cash from their collection in addition to a suit worn by Cash.
“We are so thrilled to team up with our local partners at the Johnny Cash Museum to celebrate one of Country Music’s most iconic love stories,” said Gary Levy, Ryman Auditorium General Manager. “Johnny and June have such a strong connection to the Ryman, and we are excited to share these beautiful artifacts alongside the Johnny Cash Museum, which has the most comprehensive collection of Johnny Cash artifacts and memorabilia in the world.”
“It's an honor to be involved in this celebratory exhibit at the legendary Ryman Auditorium,” said Bill Miller, Founder/CEO of the Johnny Cash Museum. “Johnny and June, individually and collectively, spent many, many hours in that beautiful building. It's very gratifying that their presence will be felt there again through this special exhibit.”
The Johnny & June pop-up exhibit will be available as part of the Ryman daytime tour experience beginning July 7. Johnny Cash Museum and the Ryman have teamed up to offer a ticket bundle for self-guided tours of both the Ryman and Cash Museum for $40. Tickets will be available at ryman.com/johnny-and-june.