PHILADELPHIA, Miss. (WTOK) -- Country music star and Philadelphia native Marty Stuart is turning a lifelong passion into a dream of opening a world class country music museum and education center in his hometown. It's featured on County Road 11.
(Photo Source: WTOK-TV)
Marty Stuart has always loved country music. In fact, he says as a kid he started collecting things from artists when they'd come through town and play at the Neshoba County Coliseum. He continued to collect through his days with the Johnny Cash band and he was inspired after a visit to the Original Hard Rock Cafe in London.
"On the way home from Nashville, I thought that's really cool," said Stuart. "It's important too to save Porter Waggoner's boots or Hank Williams' anything or Johnny Cash's anything or Patsy Cline's anything so I just starting making a list and starting going around Nashville collecting from people that didn't care about it anymore. Junk bins. Junk stores. Antique Malls."
Marty's collection continued to grow, so much that it was housed in a warehouse near Nashville. Not long after a visit with the legendary blues artist B.B. King in the Mississippi Delta, Stuart says plans were hatched to build the Congress of Country Music Complex in his hometown.
"David Vowell from Philadelphia and Marty Gamblin from Philadelphia came up there, and one of them and I can't remember which said this ought to be in Philadelphia, and it confirmed what I'd been thinking at B.B.'s place," said Stuart. "So starting then I started thinking I'd love to take this back home."
The ultimate treasure chest in country music is the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville," said Stuart. "They have over two million artifacts and counting, but this just started again in my bedroom as just a hobby."
Coming up next week in part two of our series, you'll find out that Marty wants to make the Congress of Country Music Museum a world-class destination. We will also take a behind the scenes tour of some of his most prized and valued collectibles.
The Marty Stuart Congress of Country Music will contain around 20,000 total pieces.
It's a $30 million, 50,000 square foot project. It will be located in downtown Philadelphia next to the historic Ellis Theater.