Marty Stuart planning country music museum in Mississippi

Country singer Marty Stuart, center, performs at the Mississippi Capitol in Jackson on Wednesday, Jan. 31, 2018. Also shown are two members of his band, The Fabulous Superlatives. Harry Stinson is behind Stuart and Chris Scruggs is on the right. Stuart says he is planning to develop a museum called Marty Stuart's Congress of Country Music in his hometown of Philadelphia, Miss.( AP Photo/Emily Wagster Pettus)
Associated Press

Country singer and musician Marty Stuart says he's planning to develop a museum and performance hall in his Mississippi hometown to display his collection of 20,000 country music artifacts, including handwritten lyrics from Hank Williams.

Marty Stuart's Congress of Country Music will be in Philadelphia, about 80 miles (129 kilometers) northeast of Jackson.

Appearing Wednesday at the state Capitol, Stuart, 59, said international fans are "enchanted and mystified" by Mississippi — the birthplace of rock 'n' roll king Elvis Presley, blues greats B.B. King and Muddy Waters and country music legend Jimmie Rodgers.

"There's so much legacy and legend that comes from here," Stuart said.

His collection of artifacts includes a black suit worn by Johnny Cash and boots worn by Patsy Cline.

"My collection for all these years has been a very good-neighbor collection. We've loaned things to museums for years and years," said Stuart, who has items now on display at Graceland in Memphis, Tennessee.

The music curator for the Smithsonian Institution, John Troutman, is on the advisory committee for Stuart's project.

"Mississippi is such a wellspring for so many different musical traditions for our country and for the world," Troutman said. "And, Mississippi as a state has really begun to figure out how to acknowledge that and how to invite people in to experience that history."

The state is already home to the B.B. King Museum in Indianola, the Delta Blues Museum in Clarksdale and the Grammy Museum Mississippi in Cleveland. Presley's birthplace in Tupelo is open for tours.

The Mississippi government has already put $2 million into the project, and Stuart is raising money from private donors. He said he hopes to open it in three years.

The Grammy-winning Stuart performed in Johnny Cash's backup band early in his career before starting a solo career that included the successful album "Hillbilly Rock."