Marty Stuart Day Proclaimed July 9, 2009

This appeared in The Neshoba Democrat - July 8, 2009

Work began on the Marty Stuart exhibit at the Philadelphia-Neshoba County Museum last week as framed records, photos, and other pieces of memorabilia from the country music legend's life as a child growing up in Philadelphia were added.

The exhibit - Mississippi Boy. Marty Stuart. The Neshoba County Years. - will open Thursday as part of "Marty Stuart Day." Stuart will be present at the museum to unveil the exhibit at noon.

The country music singer/songwriter will be here for a full day of activities, including the dedication of the museum exhibit and a road marker before a performance at the Choctaw Indian Fair.

His wife, the legendary country music singer Connie Smith, will be here and perform at the Choctaw Indian Fair as well.

The road marker will designate Marty Stuart Drive off Mississippi 19 north near land Stuart owns in the Arlington community. The marker was designed by Philadelphia artist Kyle Stribling, and is currently covered with a tarp to keep anyone from seeing it until it is unveiled. The sign dedication is at 10 a.m., and open to the public.

The exhibit, which has its own room in the museum, will feature audio and video of Stuart describing his early days in Neshoba County.

"To me, the story is the boy had everything he had from family and friends and hometown before he ever left the city limits to go out into the world," Stuart told members of the Museum Council earlier this year.

Mark Hooper, a carpenter and museum curator from Nashville, was hired to fabricate the room which includes custom shelving, spotlights and a television that will play a biographical video about Stuart.

Karen and Peter Cronin of Cronin Creative in Nashville came to Philadelphia early last week to begin designing and decorating the exhibit which will include a trumpet Stuart played in the Philadelphia High School marching band and one of his first guitars.

Other items in the exhibit include framed records, concert outfits, photos of Stuart at the Neshoba County Fair, and a contract from when he performed with Lester Flatt and the Nashville Grass for a payment of $1,000.

"It's like putting together a giant puzzle," Karen Cronin said. "There are a lot of pieces to the exhibit and each one of them has a predetermined spot based on the design plans we created months ago. Actually putting the exhibit together is the hard part."

Stuart will be present at the museum for the unveiling of the exhibit and will stay to "visit with folks" for about an hour and a half, said Alice Rowe of the Museum Council.

"This room is quite an undertaking for the city of Philadelphia and we are very excited about it finally being here," she said.

Due to limited parking at the museum, transportation from the historic train depot and the nearby Depot Marketplace will be available, Neshoba County Tourism Director Kaye Rowell said.

After the museum exhibit dedication, Stuart and Smith will make their way to the Choctaw Indian Fair where she is scheduled to perform at 7 p.m. and he at 8:30 p.m.

By T. J. Jernigan

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