Dolly Parton will mark her 50th anniversary as a member of the Grand Ole Opry by performing two shows on Nashville’s most famous stage on Saturday, October 12.
To kick off the celebration, the Dolly: My Opry Memories exhibit is now open at the Music City institution. The collection includes two dozen iconic items of clothing Dolly’s worn during the last half-century, including the dress from the night of her Opry induction.
Without her childhood friend Judy Ogle, Dolly’s creative director Steve Summers says the exhibit simply wouldn’t be possible.
“Judy Ogle is Dolly’s best friend, and they have been since they were seven years old,” he explains. “Judy had the foresight, even back then — it would have been in the early 1950s — to start saving everything. Every single thing: Love letters that Dolly was given by other boys — everything!”
“And Judy was just adamant on making sure that these things were taken care of and stored properly,” Summers adds. “And there would be no archives without Judy Ogle.”
Dolly’s niece — and production manager — Rebecca Seaver says you wouldn’t believe what’s in Dolly’s archives.
“Judy has saved everything: her shoes, her costumes, hats, and — most importantly to Dolly — her fan art,” Seaver says. “And we have art that she’s been given from her fans for decades.”
“I’ve never seen another archive from a celebrity or an icon like her. It’s kind of like the hillbilly Smithsonian,” she laughs.
Tickets to see Dolly: My Opry Memories are available now. It’s open at the Opry House through October 31.
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