The Story of The Congress

Future Home to the Largest Private Collection of Country Music Artifacts in the World


Marty Stuart’s Congress of Country Music reclaims, redefines, and reintroduces the true heart and soul of country music. As country music’s most notable ambassador and culture’s main archetypal crusader, Marty Stuart’s mission is to preserve and propel the authenticity of the culture of country music to future generations. Marty Stuart’s Congress of Country Music is the home to thelargest private collection of country music artifacts in the world.

Recently, when asked what is the most outlaw thing you could possibly do in Nashville these days, Marty Stuart replied, “Play country music.”


John Marty Stuart was born September 30, 1958, in Philadelphia, Mississippi. A child prodigy on guitar and mandolin, Marty made his first professional appearance at the age of 12, performing with country legends Carl and Pearl Butler. A few months later, he joined the bluegrass group the Sullivan Family Gospel Singers. A year later, he was touring with Lester Flatt and the Nashville Grass, making his debut on the Grand Ole Opry at just 13. By the age of 21, he was a member of Johnny Cash’s band. Since leaving his mentor’s band, Stuart has become one of the most respected country music artists of our time.

The young rebel, who set out to shake Nashville up, is now regarded as a rogue statesman. Ace musician, distinctive vocalist, skilled songwriter, poet, inspired bandleader, photographer, knowledgeable historian, and exciting entertainer, Marty Stuart occupies a space all his own in the world of country music. Though he is a staunch traditionalist, the five-time Grammy winner encourages the expansion of all boundaries in taking country music to a global audience. ~ Special thanks to Alan Cackett

“If country music had a president, it would be Marty Stuart. He is the embodiment of the culture. His Congress of Country Music is to be his presidential library. It’s a place where all generations will come to study and be inspired. There’s no doubt that Marty Stuart’s Congress of Country Music will be a jewel among the nation’s cultural centers.”
~ Ken Burns


MARTY'S WALKTHROUGH of the Congress of County Music

Board of Directors

Pat Thomasson
Liza Cirlot Looser
John Peets
David Vowell
Jackie Hester

Marty Stuart
David Conrad
Marty Gamblin
Kinsey Goldman
Tim Moore

Steve Wilkerson
Jack Conn
Doug Hudson


Arden Barnett – Booking / Operations
TJ Barnett – Booking
Emily Wright – Box Office Manager
Lydia Martin – Marketing
Loretta Mooney – Theater Box Office
Natalie Dreifuss – Theater Office / Rentals

ellis theater management

Advisory Board

Ken Burns
America’s Premier Documentarian
Walpole, NH

Brian Downes
Executive Director, John Wayne Birthplace & Museum
Winterset, IA

Matt Glaser
American Roots Music Professor
Berklee College of Music
Boston, MA

King of Country Couture
Nashville, TN

Craig Ray
Director of Tourism, State of Mississippi
Jackson, MS

Dan Rogers
Executive Producer, Grand Ole Opry
Nashville, TN

Connie Smith
Country Music Legend
Nashville, TN

Rob Stone
Moving image Curator, Library of Congress
Culpeper, VA

Marty Stuart
Country Music Legend
Nashville, TN

John Troutman
Music Curator, Smithsonian Institution
Washington, DC

Kyle Young
CEO, Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum
Nashville, TN



Collection and archives are amassed.



The Mississippi initiative is announced during the Electric Barnyard Tour, featuring Merle Haggard, Connie Smith, Old Crow Medicine Show and Rhonda Vincent, at William Faulkner’s Rowan Oak property in Oxford, MS.



The Marty Stuart Collection is formally established in partnership with the Tennessee State Museum. The Collection is curated and opened to the public in an exhibit entitled, “Sparkle & Twang: Marty Stuart’s American Musical Odyssey.”

After a record-breaking stay at the Tennessee State Museum, the exhibit travels to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, the Autry Museum of the American West in Los Angeles, the Arkansas State Museum, and the Riley Center in Meridian, MS.




The first of 156 Marty Stuart television shows airs. The shows are sponsored by Mississippi Tourism and Neshoba County Tourism.



The concept of the Country Music Trail is spearheaded; with the assistance of Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour, the Mississippi State Legislature is lobbied to pass legislation to create the landmark-based attraction.

The Marty Stuart Drive permanent marker is dedicated in Arlington, MS.



Neshoba County donates the old Coca-Cola building in downtown Philadelphia, MS, to house the collection and archives while funds are raised for permanent display space. $1 Million dollars in state bond money is awarded for the renovation of the building. The Marty Stuart Archives/Collection is appraised.



$500,000 in state bond money is awarded for the renovation of the building.