When the Family Tradition exhibit in the Country Music Hall of Fame opened in March of 2008, covering the lives and careers of Hank Sr., Jr., III, Hilary, Holly, and Jett, it was scheduled to close on Decemeber 31, 2009. Nearly a year later it is still going strong, kept alive by popular demand and critical acclaim, and now it is expanding.
“‘Family Tradition’ has been the most popular and critically acclaimed exhibition in this museum’s history because of the participation of the members of the Williams family,” says Kyle Young, museum director. “… each of whom has generously loaned us heirlooms and artifacts, and helped us to tell the truest and most complete story about their family to date. Since our exhibit opened in March 2008, the Williams family has continued to make country music history. And they have continued to make available to us the artifacts and evidence of that history, most notably the Pulitzer Prize Special Citation awarded to Williams earlier this year.”
In addition to adding physical artifacts on site, the Hall is also offering additional content online in what they are calling Family Tradition Encore, where you can go and read and view artifacts about different members of the Williams family. For example you can read all about Hank Jr’s fall off of Ajax mountain in Montana in 1975, view newspaper clippings of the event, etc.
The exhibit is now set to run through December 31, 2011.
Here is a list of the added artifacts:
- Two handwritten notebooks filled with Hank Williams’ writings, including lyrics to many never-recorded songs and notes he made while researching Cajun cuisine for his hit “Jambalaya”
- Williams’ original, handwritten lyrics to his unpublished song “I Thank My God for You,” written on stationery from New York’s King Edward Hotel, where Williams stayed during his 1951 appearance on the Perry Como Show
- Pulitzer Prize Special Citation awarded to Hank Williams on May 24, 2010, at Columbia University. Previous recipients include Bob Dylan and George Gershwin.
- Martin D-18 guitar belonging to Hank Williams Jr. The instrument, which Hank Jr. describes as his “therapy guitar,” was played by Williams in 1975 while he underwent physical therapy after his life-threatening fall down Ajax Mountain.
- One-of-a-kind electric guitar and strap, given to Hank Williams Jr. by a fan. The strap and guitar are crafted of alligator hide, and the pick guard and fretboard inlays are carved from bone.
- Hank Williams III stage costume. The costume, designed to look like armor, was made for Williams by a fan.
- Unedited, first-draft manuscript pages from Sign of Life: The Hilary Williams Story, an autobiography written by Williams with M.B. Roberts and published this month by Da Capo Press
- Promotional materials and reviews related to Holly Williams’ new album, Here with Me.
More information can be found on the Hall of Fame’s official press release.