I was practically overwhelmed with emotion as I stood in the heart of downtown Montgomery looking into that infamous backseat wondering what could have been.
The experience of standing within feet of the baby blue cadillac that Hank made his final journey in is an experience that should be felt by anyone who has ever been touched by this legend's music.
Just a few more feet away, encased in glass, stood a manequin displaying the blue suit, hat and boots worn by America's first music megastar as he took his last breath. One word: unbelievable.
The museum itself is nothing to write home about. In fact, I felt a little disjointed when I saw how small and seemingly unimportant it seemed from the outside. No neon lights. No fancy grand entrance. Just a small "Window Shopping" looking joint that rests hidden between some of the city's busiest buildings.Something tells me, however, Hank wouldn't have minded that one bit.
The items/exhibits on the inside more than make up for it. A giant Kaw-Liga statue greets visitors upon entrance while original vinyl records of Hank William's music (played on an antique stereo system) whisper his pain and sorrow quietly in the background. Just around the corner is a handwritten note from Hank to his "momma" along with a wall of other items any true Hank fan would deem priceless. A small theater off to the side plays films dedicated to the memory of Williams. A few more steps and several stage outfits belonging to him and his children (Hank, Jr. and Jet Williams) become visible. The centerpiece, of course, is the Cadillac. What can I say? You just have to see it for yourself.
As I left I dropped close to $100 bucks in the small but stocked giftshop and picked up printed directions to the memorial, auditorium, and gravesite.
My only complaint with the Hank Williams Museum is that there seemed to be no true timeline of Hank's life. The exhibits seemed to be scattered and in no real cronological order. I can see how that may be a little confusing to someone new to his life and music.
With a little financial help and a little better organization, I believe this museum can become one of the most essential musical destinations in this country. Make the trip yourself and see. Hell, Hank's worth it. Ain't he?
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