Throughout Grand Ole Opry history, the famous radio show has highlighted country, bluegrass, comedy, gospel, and folk music. The weekly concert is one of the most important features of Nashville country music history, dating back to 1925 when the Grand Ole Opry was first founded, initially under the name of WSM Barn Dance.
The weekly shows, many of which showcased champion fiddler Uncle Jimmy Thompson, quickly became hugely popular throughout the United States, and in 1927 was renamed the Grand Ole Opry. Throughout the next 80 years and more, many of which were spent at the famous Ryman Auditorium in downtown Nashville, it has popularized and showcased many of the greatest talents in Nashville country music history, such as Roy Acuff, Minnie Pearl, Patsy Cline, Reba McEntire, and Garth Brooks.
Some of this rich Grand Ole Opry history can be glimpsed at the Grand Ole Opry Museum, part of the entertainment complex that houses the Grand Ole Opry. The Grand Ole Opry museum exhibits artifacts and memorabilia from the history of country music, as well as its stars. Not only can you learn about the history of the popular radio show, you can also gain insight into the lives of many country stars, with artifacts such as Patsy Cline's beautiful outfits and recordings of Jimmy Reeves' voice reading.
Admission to the Grand Ole Opry museum is free, making a visit to this museum a great value, and it is located close to the Grand Ole Opry House, where the show is now broadcast, in the Opry Plaza. Check ahead of time of the museum is open, as it is sometimes closed for special events and private functions. If you’re especially interested in Nashville music, you can even add a show to the end of your day at the Grand Ole Opry—there are concerts several nights a week, in addition to the original Saturday night performances.