For the first time, the Grand Ole Opry is opening the doors to the Acuff House, the home built for Roy Acuff in the shadow of the Grand Ole Opry House, to showcase the limited-time exhibit Family Reunion: The Opry Family Photo Album.
The exhibit will showcase behind-the-scenes moments at the Grand Ole Opry via the work of 32-year Opry staff photographer Les Leverett, who captured onstage and offstage moments for stars including Acuff, Garth Brooks, Johnny Cash, Patsy Cline, Loretta Lynn, Dolly Parton, Minnie Pearl, and more.
The Acuff House will also share the story of Roy Acuff, through artifacts and videos highlighting his 50-plus years as the consummate showman on the Opry stage. Acuff lived in the home built for him by the Opry from 1983 until his death in 1992.
The exhibit opens April 30 and runs through Oct. 31.
Leverett’s work has also been featured on hundreds of album covers. Among his many honors are a Grammy Award for best album cover photography for Porter Wagoner’s 1966 album Confessions of a Broken Man and Billboard’s Best Country Cover for Dolly Parton’s 1973 album Bubbling Over. He received the Distinguished Achievement Award from the International Bluegrass Music Association in 2001 and from the California Bluegrass Association in 2006. In January 2015, Leverett was formally recognized and honored by the Tennessee Senate in a joint resolution for his significant and iconic work that documents the history and traditions of country music. In 2009, Leverett came out of retirement to serve as the official photographer for the weekly television program, The Marty Stuart Show.
The Grand Ole Opry Archives acquired thousands of slides, prints, negatives, and color transparencies from the Les Leverett collection in February 2017. The collection contains thousands of images that have never before been printed or published as well as Leverett’s handwritten notes pertaining to dates, locations, and subjects depicted; press clippings; and a homemade, typewritten index that contains additional details.
“We are delighted to be able to showcase even a small portion of the incredible work Les Leverett produced during his 32 years with the Grand Ole Opry,” said Colin Reed, Ryman Hospitality Properties Chairman and CEO. “These photographs are of paramount importance to country music history and to our company’s heritage. We take very seriously our job as caretakers of this collection and look forward to some of the collection’s truly incredible photographs being seen by fans around the world.”
Acuff House tours can be purchased as part of tour packages also including Grand Ole Opry House backstage tours. Packages will be available seven days a week based upon Opry House availability. Additional package information is available at opry.com and by calling 1-800-SEE-OPRY.
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