50 years after country legend Patsy Cline died in a plane crash, a museum in her hometown is taking a fresh look at her life in Virginia.
The new exhibit at the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley in Winchester showcases her local roots. "Becoming Patsy Cline" opens Friday morning.
Cory Garman is the Exhibitions Manager at the museum, and one of the curators for the exhibit. "What we wanted to do was present her as a real person, to get people to understand who she was before she became this iconic figure," Garman told WDBJ7, "so I think that's one of the powerful things about the exhibition as well. She becomes very real."
The exhibit fills a large gallery at the museum. It includes outfits the young singer wore onstage, the sewing machine her mother used to make them, even the microphone from her performances on a local radio station.
Some of the items are on loan from the family. Others are owned by Celebrating Patsy Cline Inc., the Winchester group committed to preserving Cline's local legacy. Many items are on public display for the first time.
Judy Sue Huyett-Kempf is the Executive Director of the Patsy Cline Historic House in Winchester. "I vowed I was going to keep my composure, but I lost it," Huyett-Kempf said after seeing the exhibit. "I totally lost it, because I've been working with this lady for 20 years, 20 long years, and she deserves every single bit of this and more."
David DeCarlo is a Patsy Cline fan who volunteers at the singer's former home, and with the group Celebrating Patsy Cline. "And to see her name up in neon, to see the outfits that she wore, to see it all come together, and especially here in Winchester," DeCarlo said, "It just does my heart good to see all this, to see the recognition she's finally, finally getting."
"Becoming Patsy Cline" will remain on display at the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley through February 2, 2014.