The Ryman Auditorium and the Country Music Hall of Fame are celebrating what would have been Sarah Cannon’s 100th birthday with new exhibits. Cannon brought to life the iconic Grand Ole Opry character Minnie Pearl.
At the Ryman, Proud to be Here! The Legacy of Minnie Pearl is part of the self-guided tour. It chronicles her life from Nashville’s Ward-Belmont School where she was named “Most Humorous” by her classmates, to her storied association with the Grand Ole Opry. The display prominently features one of her famous powder-blue gingham dresses and flower-adorned straw hat with its $1.98 price tag. Other items include Cousin Minnie’s Country Music Hall of Fame plaque, an oversized Hatch Show Print, scripts and Cannon’s National Medal of the Arts medallion.
The Hall of Fame’s spotlight exhibit, Minnie Pearl: Centennial Celebration, will run through August 2013. Among the artifacts on display are a script of Minnie Pearl’s 1957 network television debut on NBC’s This Is Your Life, a Family Feud trophy from her team with fellow Opry stars, and The American Cancer Society’s John C. Tune Award for Sarah Cannon’s efforts to educate the public about breast cancer.
She gave her name to the Sarah Cannon Cancer Center and the Minnie Pearl Cancer Foundation to help raise funds and awareness, and to provide support for those suffering from the disease. She was a tireless advocate for early detection and research for a cure until her passing on March 4, 1996.