A diverse group of musicians trace their roots back here to Texas – and that’s what makes the Texas Musicians Museum a must-see when your travels take you to North Central Texas.
There’s nothing Victorian about this museum – except the house the venue calls home. Ring the bell and you’re greeted by the museum’s Executive Director, Thomas Kreason and his sidekick shitzu, Taos. Kreason knows his stuff – he was responsible for installing the memorabilia in the original Hard Rock Café in Dallas and the ones in New York, Boston and Washington, D.C.
If you love the roots of rock and roll, country, rockabilly, jazz and any other genre, then you’re in for a treat. You’ll see actual stage outfits, awards, and instruments from many of Texas’ greatest music legends. The small house is crammed full of the stuff. It’s amazing how many disparate musicians called Texas home – T-Bone Walker, Blind Willie Johnson, Willie Nelson, the Vaughn brothers – Jimmie and Stevie Ray, Big Mama Thornton, Janis Joplin and Jessica Simpson. Kreason has fascinating stories and objects from all of them and more.
You’ll see the very early portable recording device belonging to pioneer musicologist John A. Lomax, who grew up in Bosque County and used the disc-etching/playing device to record folk songs in the field.
J.P. “the Big Bopper” Richardson’s son is on the museum’s board. The Big Bopper whose best known hit was “Chantilly Lace,” performed some of the first music videos ever – and you can see them as they were originally seen played on a vintage 1958 Philco television.
The highlight is the collection of memorabilia from “the day the music died” – the Iowa plane crash that killed Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and J. P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson, as well as the pilot, Roger Peterson – February 3, 1959. It’s the day singer Don McLean made famous in his early ‘70’s song, “American Pie.” The museum’s centerpiece is the Big Bopper’s original casket. It was acquired because the Big Bopper’s body was exhumed to answer once and for all whether there was gunplay on the plane before it crashed. Texas law required Richardson to be buried again in a new casket. So, now the original casket is on display with the recreation of the wake flower sprays – so in a round about way, you get to experience the day the music died.
Texas Musicians Museum
212 North Waco Street