Here’s some news that might just be the romantic highlight of your week: Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium plans to celebrate the night Johnny Cash and June Carter first met backstage, 65 years ago today (July 7).
The special pop-up exhibit will only be available to fans taking daytime tours for a limited time, marking the start of one of country’s most enduring love stories. Cash and Carter’s deep romantic connection famously led to a decades-long marriage, a son named John Carter Cash and countless love songs like “I Walk the Line.” And it all started at the Mother Church of Country Music.
To pinpoint the magical moment, Cash and Carter first met on the night of Cash’s Grand Ole Opry debut: July 7, 1956. Then a 24-year-old rising star, he bumped into the 27-year-old Carter backstage — and Cash reportedly fell hard right from the start.
Starting today (July 7) to mark the anniversary, the pop-up exhibit will feature special artifacts from both the Ryman and Johnny Cash Museum collections — including clothing from the stars and even Carter’s autoharp, which was owned by “Mother” Maybelle Carter played by Carter during her many Ryman performances. But the highlight will be the couple themselves.
“We are so thrilled to team up with our local partners at the Johnny Cash Museum to celebrate one of Country Music’s most iconic love stories,” said Gary Levy, Ryman Auditorium General Manager. “Johnny and June have such a strong connection to the Ryman, and we are excited to share these beautiful artifacts alongside the Johnny Cash Museum, which has the most comprehensive collection of Johnny Cash artifacts and memorabilia in the world.”
“It’s an honor to be involved in this celebratory exhibit at the legendary Ryman Auditorium,” said Bill Miller, Founder/CEO of the Johnny Cash Museum. “Johnny and June, individually and collectively, spent many, many hours in that beautiful building. It’s very gratifying that their presence will be felt there again through this special exhibit.”
The Johnny & June pop-up exhibit is open now as part of the Ryman Auditorium’s daytime tour experience. The Johnny Cash Museum and the Ryman have teamed up to offer a ticket bundle for self-guided tours of both the Ryman and Cash Museum for $40.