Texas Country Music Hall of Fame
The Texas Country Music Hall of Fame hosts a variety of events and functions in Panola County, home of several country music legends. Foremost, it is the permanent home for the Texas Country Music Hall of Fame which inducts several new members each year. It highlights each of the inductees and is a place where visitors of all ages may come and experience the accomplishments, achievements, and careers of some of Texas' greatest sons and daughters of country music.
The exterior building facade reflects the color and some of the artistic brick work evident in the historic 'Square' of Carthage and common throughout many old Texas towns. An entry plaza provides a focal point for identity and an invitation for public gathering. Featured in the raised pedestrian plaza are two large pedestals surrounded by double rings of engraved brick pavers given as memorials by donors of the museum. One pedestal features a 'Texas Star.' Out of each point rises a flagpole, atop which flies a Texas flag. The other pedestal is the base for the 'larger than life' bronze statue of Tex Ritter and his horse White Flash.
The museum, a large multi-purpose room, and a gift shop comprise the major areas of interest within the new facility. The gift shop, where tickets are purchased, serves as the entrance point to the Hall of Fame. Upon entering the multi-purpose room visitors begin their museum experience. The multi-purpose room performs two primary functions. It is designed as a community room to accommodate groups of 300 for lecture style seating or over 200 for catered dinners. Daily this space serves as the living room of the museum with large murals of historic Carthage lining the walls. In the center of the room is a large, dramatic star-shaped kiosk housing panels that depict a wide variety of topics including, the history of Carthage, a history of the museum, a short history of the guitar, and even a short history of the 'singing cowboy.' Above the kiosk hang colorful banners while music of members of the Hall of Fame softly plays in the background, setting the mood for the visitor before entering the museum area. The large double doored grand entrance to the exhibits area is flanked by murals and the Hall of Fame Awards, acknowledging the accomplishments of the great artists that are contained inside.
The museum displays and casework, designed by Southwest Museum Services of Houston, Texas, contains informational and graphic panels that can be easily changed and moved as the museum grows. Panels cover artists' career and accomplishments through text, photographs, and artifacts. The exhibits contain an impressive collection of artifacts ranging from golf balls to guitars. The artifacts are mounted with care and housed in cases designed to preserve them for posterity.
In the center of the exhibit area, a replica of a 1930's theater marquee reminds visitors of the role of country music in the movies. Neon and globe lights will catch visitor's eyes as they move through the museum and a video display continuously runs 'old singing cowboy movies.' Adjacent to the Theater is the 'Country Cafe,' a replica of a 1930's local hang out where visitors will be able to step back into time to listen to inductee's music from an old fashioned jukebox.
Also serving as an entrance to the Tex Ritter Museum, the marquee hovers over displays of some of Tex Ritter's many costumes from his movie days. The Tex Ritter Museum which tells the life story of Tex, one of America's most beloved cowboy figures, is composed of casework containing artifacts, photos, biographical information and a re-creation of Tex's den.