featuring trailblazers from Loretta Lynn to Taylor Swift

The power of women in country music is currently on display at the North Carolina Museum of History. This exhibit, curated by the GRAMMY® Museum in Los Angeles, includes legendary women pioneers over a 100-year period, with a focus on recent decades.

Handcrafted instruments, couture dresses and costumes, album covers, lyric sheets and awards punctuated with inspirational quotes, videos and music make this an exhibit everyone will enjoy.

The exhibit promises that visitors will be blown away by the rich colors and sparkling collection that line each case and include pieces by Dolly Parton, Roseanne Cash, Loretta Lynn, Yola, Brandi Carlile, the Judds, Faith Hill and others including the light has shone so brightly in the music genre.

There is also a special space reserved for artists from North Carolina like Emmylou Harris, Rissi Palmer, Kasey Tyndall and Rhiannon Giddens. The range of musical talent, styles and voices featured in the exhibition further amplifies the barriers that have been broken down by these exceptional artists.

“It was so cool to be able to collaborate with GRAMMY® museum curator Kelsey Goelz. As a curator, I love being able to discover new information with every project I work on and this exhibition gave me not only to learn about the iconic female musicians I grew up listening to, but more specifically, these North Carolina artists and the state’s ties to country music,” said Katie Edwards, Curator of pop culture at the NC Museum of History.

Icons and items displayed include:

  1. Lorette Lynn: 45 rpm of Coalminer’s Daughter; Cover of the album, Homecoming.
  2. Dolly Parton: Outfit, worn during a performance of “Joshua” at the Grand Ole Opry, 1971; Outfit, worn on the cover of Together Always with Porter Wagoner, 1972; Banjo (Gibson), custom.
  3. Roseanne Cash: Guitar (Martin), Acoustic OM-28M, 2008.
  4. Reba McEntire: Nomination envelope and winner’s card, Best Gospel Roots Album, Recording Academy, 2018; Dressing gown and accessories, does he love you; Black dress worn to accept Best Gospel Roots Album, Sing It Now: Songs of Faith & Hope, 60th Annual Awards.
  5. Yola: the first guitar she learned to play; black dress worn to accept Best Gospel Roots Album, Sing It Now: Songs of Faith & Hope, 60th Annual Awards.
  6. Shania Twain: Man outfit! I feel like a woman! video; White dress worn at the 1995 GRAMMY® Awards.
  7. Rissi Palmer: Dress worn during Opry’s first TV performance (2009); microphone used to record the first episode of Color Me Country; notes from the first episode of Color Me Country
  8. Taylor Swift: Vintage lace dress worn in the Mean music video, 2010; Deer Banjo (P207), 2010; Betsy Johnson dress worn in Tim McGraw’s music video, 2006; BCBGIRLS cowboy boots worn in the Tim McGraw music video, 2006; Dress worn in Willow music video; Digitization of Tim McGraw’s handwritten lyrics; and the cabin reproduction featured in Taylor Swift’s 63rd Annual GRAMMY Awards performance of “Cardigan”/”August”/”Willow.”

The exhibit is a huge win for the museum and for Raleigh. The museum’s Senior Registrar, Camille Hunt, shared, “As a lifelong country music fan, working on this exhibit, from first encounters with the GRAMMY® Museum to unboxing and installing the dozens of iconic artifacts, was a highlight of my career!”

Those who have seen The Power of Women in Country Music since it opened on October 28 agree. It’s festive, beautiful and fuels excitement. Visitors to the museum and special events and activities all agree: women rock.

And that notion translates into a connectivity that seems necessary right now. Music creates community, something we’ve been sorely lacking in recent years.

Upcoming programs include a series of authors, Music + Prose, and the continuation of a series of concerts, Southern Songbirds, launched on the weekend of opening. The next three gigs include Tift Merritt, Alice Gerrard (with a biographical screening of You Gave Me Song and Q&A) and Rissi Palmer. All three are hosted by legendary North Carolina native Jim Lauderdale.

To purchase tickets for the exhibition and learn more about the programming surrounding it, visit ncmuseumofhistory.org.

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