The George Jones Museum;
Two-Years After His Death
Widow Nancy Jones Interviewed!
On the two-year anniversary of his death, the greatest country music singer of all time — George Jones — will get his permanent enshrinement on 2nd Ave of historic downtown Nashville with a 44,000 square foot museum, restaurant, and music venue.
In a recent press conference with George’s widow Nancy Jones, I was very excited to learn more about this never-before-seen glimpse into the man who has the most recognizable voice in country music history.
At this museum you will learn first-hand the story of the singer born Sept. 12, 1931 in Saratoga Texas. It will host exhibits of his childhood, his experiences as a singer in his teenage years on the streets of Galveston Texas, his time in the United States Marine Corps, his time as a DJ for KTXJ in Jasper Texas, all the way to his life of stardom and chart-topping success.
But before I share the Q&A session we had with Nancy Jones (which includes a question from me that surprised everyone who was there), something truly heart-warming happened at this press conference — something unusual.
While attending this press conference, my friend Matt Wanasek, who is a chaplain, Iraq war veteran, and an artist, presented to Nancy Jones a picture he drew of Nancy and George. Not only did it genuinely touch Nancy’s heart, but it has led to some interesting turns in the road for Matt: the museum is now considering the possibility of commissioning Matt to create artwork that can be used in the museum.
Here is what Matt had to say of the experience:
“God has given us all unique gifts. My greatest passion and unique ability is art. I just want to use mine to bring hope and peace to others and hopefully glorify God in some way through that artistic process.
“When I heard I had the privilege to meet Mrs. Jones (which was somewhat of a short notice) I was quick to put something together for her that I thought might bring her a little happiness in spite of her loss; it is a black and white hand drawing based on a photo taken of Nancy and George (unsure of photographer) sitting on the couch in a compassionate moment. Mrs. Jones received the drawing warmly, which made me very pleased. She’s really an extraordinary woman. My only regret was not having more time to work on that particular art piece. What can I say? I’m a perfectionist. Perhaps other opportunities may present themselves in the near future that can best showcase my gifts. I’m looking forward to the George Jones Museum with great anticipation!”
Here are Nancy Jones’s informative, touching, and fun (see my last question) answers from the press conference:
The museum will be open in 90 days?
Yes, it will be open and running the weekend of April 26.
How do you feel about unveiling this world-class George Jones entertainment and event center?
I am so happy that I cannot even explain how happy I am. I promised George I would carry on his legacy and that I will do.
Will there be live performances?
There will be live performances. As a matter of fact, Jamie Johnson has already called and expressed interest in performing. He said to make sure not to forget about him and we won’t [laughs].
In the blueprints I see a radio station broadcast booth. Could you explain that?
The radio station KTXJ is where George worked when he was young. You are going to crack up laughing when I tell you what his handle was: it was P-Widdackle-Picklepuss Jones. [laughs] He would play a contest because his voice was so deep that they thought he was older and nobody ever guessed his age; he was around 20 or 21 years old.
You have four floors. So what is a fan generally going to see when he or she walks through the door?
When you first walk in you are going to have a gift shop, then you are going to have a restaurant, then you are going to go to the second floor and it is 11,000 square feet up there, and I am going to have a lot of stuff up there. Then you are going to the venue and the event space. And from the event space you can go to the rooftop deck; that is 6,000 square feet.
What do you think George would say if he could see all of this?
Everyone in here probably knows George. I don’t think George ever realized he was a big legacy. I don’t think he ever realized it. Because when he was in the hospital, I said, “I am going to be carrying on your legacy ’cause, George, you are an icon.” His exact words were, “I can’t even say that word much less for you to carry it on.” He was just a normal person. I mean, you all knew him, and I don’t think he ever, ever got to where he realized who he really was. And I think at the funeral it definitely showed — the people that loved him. And especially now when I go to the grave site. There has never been a time that I have went there that there hasn’t been a lot of people there.
What are you going to charge for people to get in?
It is going to be reasonable enough that George would never want me to overprice anything for his fans.
And in my very own signature fashion I closed the live Q&A with a heart-warming question that no one would have expected. I said, “What do you think George said to Little Jimmy Dickens when he first saw him in Heaven for the first time?
He said, “Where have you been? I have been waiting on you because I am tired of Johnny Cash and Waylon Jennings.” [laughs] I think they are having fun up there right now.
The George Jones Museum will be located at 128 2nd Avenue North in downtown Nashville. Further details regarding opening weekend festivities will be announced in the coming weeks. For more information, please visit georgejones.com.