I'll Hold You in My Heart: The Eddy Arnold Collection, the newest exhibit at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville, was recently unveiled during a reception honoring the Hall of Fame member and his wife, Sally.
family members and well-wishers from political dignitaries to Hall of Fame members to songwriters visited with the honorees
during the June 5 event. Guests included Phil Everly of the Everly Brothers, Ray Walker of the Jordanaires, Jimmy Dean, Cowboy
Jack Clement, Jimmie Fadden and Jeff Hanna of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and Matraca Berg.
In the rotunda, Kyle Young,
director of the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, introduced Hall of Fame member Cindy Walker who shared memories of
Arnold and his career. During Arnold's remarks, he also recognized two former Tennessee governors, Ned McWherter and Winfield
Dunn. "One's a Democrat, and one's a Republican, but that don't matter to me."
Following the ceremonies in the Hall
of Fame rotunda, guests moved to the second-floor gallery where the Arnolds cut the ribbon to open the exhibit area. The largest
donation in the history of the museum includes, among other things, 5,000 recorded radio shows, 2,000 photographs, 1,000 pieces
of sheet music, various awards and personal correspondence.
The morning after the private reception, approximately
300 people waited patiently in line to secure an autograph or picture with Arnold in the gift shop at the museum. In the front
part of the line alone were people from Arizona, Georgia, Illinois, Minnesota, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island,
Texas and Wisconsin. With a line that snaked through the gift shop and out into the foyer, Arnold signed hats, record albums,
pictures and even the back of Rumiko Endo's shirt. Endo and her husband traveled to Nashville from Tokyo, Japan, to attend
I'll Hold You in My Heart: The Eddy Arnold Collection runs through December 2003.