Grand Ole Opry, at the Branigan Cultural Center, is an exhibition that documents the radio show known as the “home of American music” through the work of commercial photographer Gordon Gillingham during the 1950s.
These photographs catalog the Opry in its prime. The positive postwar atmosphere of the United States was critical for the success of the radio show and of country music in general. Gillingham captures the spirit, camaraderie, and sheer joy of the era by focusing his lens both on- and off-stage. Photographs of Minnie Pearl, Chet Atkins, and Patsy Cline performing demonstrate the carousing spirit of the performances, while pictures of June Carter, Johnny Cash, and Roy Rogers interacting with their fans offer a backdoor perspective of the Opry. Though a crucial part of the Opry’s historical fabric, many of Gillingham’s remarkable photographs have never been published or reproduced. Grand Ole Opry unveils this view of a vital hallmark of American culture holistically, embedding the photographs in historical context and audio snippets of the radio show itself. The show is still on the air and has become the longest running radio program in the world.
Grand Ole Opry is toured by ExhibitsUSA, a national program of Mid-America Arts Alliance. ExhibitsUSA sends more than 25 exhibitions on tour to more than 100 small- and mid-sized communities every year.
Admission is free to the Branigan Cultural Center, located at 501 North Main Street. The museum is open Tuesday through Friday from 10am to 4:30pm, and Saturday from 9am to 4:30pm. For additional information, visit the website at museums.las-cruces.org or call 575-541- 2154.