Showing posts with the label Nashville

The Parthenon, driving to the airport

Today we had to get up bright and early, pack our bags and leave our rental house... We had a great stay here, so we were sad to leave, but we had all morning for ourselves, so we hopped in the car and drove to Nashville's Centennial Park to see the Parthenon.

You read that correctly: Nashville has an exact, full size replica of the Athenian Parthenon. It was built in 1897 as a temporary feature of the Tennessee Centennial Exposition, but it proved to be so popular with Nashvillians that they decided to rebuild it as a permanent building in the 1920s. It goes on, though: in 1990 they built a full-size statue of Athena inside the temple, like the original Parthenon had. It looks like they were really committed to being as historically accurate as it was possible back then: the sculptures were all made using plaster molds made directly from the original statues, which are in the British Museum of London. For those parts of the frieze that are missing, they based their design on desc…

The Hermitage, Franklin TN

It was a gloriously sunny day in Nashville today, all the better for daytripping! Our first point of order today was to get in the car and drive to the Hermitage, Andrew Jackson's plantation only about 20 min east of Nashville.

Once on the grounds, they gave us the receiver for an audio tour and ushered us to a theatre. We saw a stocktastic video about the life of US President Andrew Jackson narrated by US President Martin Sheen (what? He is to me!). In stark contrast with Graceland, where Elvis' life was completely whitewashed -they don't even say how he died, just tell you the date- the Hermitage speaks about the controversies and deplorable things of Jackson's presidency a lot more openly and in-depth than I expected. Of course, they highlight his military victories, his temperament and his work securing rights for the common man, but also discuss how he had displaced thousands of Cherokee Indians in what became known as the Trail of Tears, his contempt towards suff…

Country Music Hall of Fame, Broadway, Not The Bluebird

It was a cold but sunny morning in Nashville today. We took our sweet time getting ready and left at around 11 o'clock, headed straight to the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum! It's quite a mouthful, and also the best possible first contact with Music City!

The museum is in the heart of downtown, just two blocks south of Broadway (or Lower Broad; Nashville's Beale Street, in short), occupying a beautiful and dashing building. The windows look like the keys of a piano, and I believe the structure looks like a sol clef when seen from above! As many other museums around these parts, it's quite pricey, but at least you get a lot of bang for your buck.

The visit starts on the third floor with an extensive exhibit on the history of country music, with ancient films and recordings, and bios on all the stars of the time. They also have plenty of historical objects that belonged to those artists. Hank Williams, Patsy Cline, Johnny Cash, Dolly Parton... All of them!

The visit …

Stax Museum, road to Nashville, Grand Ole Opry

When I woke up this morning, it was snowing in Memphis!! Just barely, granted, but: bloody snow was falling from the bloody sky! All the Americans who told me the weather would be lovely this time of year: I hold you personally responsible! You know who you are (it's all of you).

Okay, it wasn't too bad in the end, there was no wind so in fact it felt less cold than yesterday. We had to pack our things and leave, but before saying goodbye to Memphis we wanted to make one last visit: the Stax Museum of American Soul Music, in South Memphis, on the former site of the Stax Records label.
Like the Civil Rights Museum, this visit also starts with a short video introducing what you're about to see, except this one looked like it was a VHS tape from the 90s that they just kept replaying. Not that the history of soul has changed since then, but a little update couldn't hurt...

I enjoyed the visit very much, especially because the museum strikes a very good balance between show…