28: More Hank Williams

So, here, as promised, is the follow-up to my last post on Hank Williams! This will be my attempted recollections of what happened when I visited the Hank Williams Museum in downtown Montgomery on April the 18th, 2013. 😀

The first thing that happened at the Museum was that we had to make sure that it was actually open. It’s really hard to tell with this particular museum, as there aren’t really any lights in the “lobby”, and there’s no obnoxiously flashing “OPEN” sign to let you know which one it is. So we peeked in the extraordinarily low windows, and as there was a person sitting (or rather standing) at the front desk, we figured that it was probably safe to go in.
It costs $10 per person age 15 and above, and $3 for anyone 14 or below. Because of this pricing scheme, only I and my two teenage twin friends went in to the museum proper, while their mom waited in the lobby.

(And do please pardon me all my “if I’m not mistaken”s and my “I do believe”s: if I had been permitted to take photographs of the interior of the museum it would be considerably easier to recall, but as it is, my long-term memory is not the best, especially 10 days later when I’ve had to memorise other things in the meantime and I’ve almost definitely forgotten things about the museum. My sincerest apologies. [If you want to either double-check my memories or see what I’m describing for yourself, please, by all means, visit the museum on your own: I will be in no way offended.])

As I may have mentioned in my previous post, it was slightly confusing in terms of where to start, but the ladies at the desk pointed us at the entrance and so, obligingly, we entered. There was a speaker just as you entered the museum which was playing Hank Williams songs (no really! I never would’ve guessed!) and as you passed by it, you also saw a desk that he would write songs at, as well as some hand-written sheet music and certificates for various things – mostly prizes, if I’m not mistaken. After the first little entrance part made of wooden dividers directing you the first 4 feet or so, it was a basically a do-it-yourself tour: go where you will, see what you want. The wall that extended from the first little directional area had a few posters for Hank Williams concerts, at least one of which was surrounded by flashing lights.

The main museum space was mostly taken up by the car in which Hank Williams died, presumably from heart failure, at the age of 29. The car is a baby blue Cadillac (don’t ask me the model; I have absolutely no idea as cars don’t particularly interest me) and seemed fairly massive, although that could be related to the fact that the museum was small and so anything larger than probably 20 feet long would seem massive in that space. The car was surrounded by ropes and signs reading “DO NOT TOUCH” which seemed fairly obvious to me, as it would be a tiny bit morbid to sit in the same seat as someone who had died… 0_o But nevertheless, those signs were there. There was a plaque/paper-taped-to-a-pedestal with a snippet of information about the car and Hank’s death, but to be honest, I have no recollection of what it said. Most likely, because I wasn’t really reading to remember…

Near the front of the car, but far enough away that they could both have fences/railings and still have a fairly wide thoroughfare betwixt them, there was a couch that had something to do with Hank: most likely it was the couch that was owned by his family that he had grown up playing on that had been donated to the museum. There was a handmade blanket thrown over the back, but I don’t remember whether someone had knitted it for Hank’s family when he was a baby or if it had been knitted specifically for the museum.
Next to the car, but still inside the ropes, was a bronze bust of Hank that had been cast/sculpted/whatever-you-do-with-bronze for a city that was closely related to Hank for a memorial service after he died. Perched on the bust’s head was one of Hank’s hats, which looked exactly like it had been made specifically as part of the statue, but what was in reality a hat that Hank had actually worn to performances and things that had then been coated in bronze to preserve it for as long as the bronze lasted. {And I do actually remember that, because I thought it was really cool. XD}

There were two or three little rooms jutting off the big room with the car, and those, one would think, would have the most interesting stuff. One of them sort of did, but the other (I believe there were) two rooms were actually quite…I guess I’ll say it…They were boring. One of the rooms – about all I can remember of it is that there was some sort of documentary up on a TV, or perhaps it was just a collection of bits of black-and-white film of performances in which Hank sang. I think there were also a few paintings or something up on the walls, but for the most part, the TV was the extent of that room.
The other room I remember was a bunch of tall display cases, filled with records, photographs, hats, boots, and sheet music. There may have even been a suit jacket or two, and a couple of instruments. The sheet music and the photographs were mildly interesting, I will readily admit. Something I found a bit confusing is that in some of the photographs they referred to Hank Williams and in some they referred to Hank Williams Jr. and in some they referred to both, and it wasn’t until we’d gone through practically the entire museum before I realised that Hank Williams Jr. was a completely different person to Hank Williams: his son, to be exact. Also, in the 29 years that Hank Williams was alive, it appeared (based on the facts in the museum that I shall double-check at the end of this post) that Hank married two women, had two children with one of them, and then had another child with another woman that he may or may not have been married to. He got around in those few years, didn’t he? XD 😛
The last thing I remember about the offshoot rooms was either in another room filled partially with display cases or in a room of its own, but either way, it was a quilt hanging on the wall with a stand next to it holding a piece of paper. The paper said something to the point of “This quilt was made by (blank) of (blank) Alabama for Hank Williams and the Hank Williams Museum. Please research this person at (web address) and help support the arts in Alabama.” Or something similar enough to that that it made me question whether that person hadn’t just donated a quilt as a promotional item… In that same room, and I do believe it was actually a third room, there were several other items that had only a small connection if any to Hank, and so I really don’t feel that that room was necessary, or if it was, perhaps it would’ve been better as part of the lobby, and not as part of the museum proper, such that it was.

The last part I wish to mention about the actual exhibits in the Hank Williams museum will hopefully be more concise than the rest of this post, since as of this word there are 1285 words already in this post. *coughs and faints with astonishment* *revives* Goodness me, I’ll definitely try to go faster!
The remainder of the body of the museum (in the same general space as the aforementioned couch, car, and bust) was filled with display cases and another fenced-off area, containing a kitchen set. The display cases housed Hank’s suits, hats, and boots, as well as more photographs and memorabilia. One of the cases not placed against the wall contained the piano that Hank had played on; either when he was taking lessons as a boy, or when he was composing and teaching his children how to play the piano, I don’t remember which. It was a surprisingly tiny upright piano, which both puzzled and pleased me, as I play piano, like piano very much, and live in a house with two pianos.
The kitchen set – i.e. table, chairs, rug, fake counters and cabinets, pictures, and bit of framed hand-painted wallpaper – was that of Hank’s wife Audrey’s kitchen when they were both alive (his wife may still be alive for all I know, but obviously Hank isn’t) and living with their two children. It was very pretty, but seemed rather incongruous, and also as if it shouldn’t really be there.

And that concludes my account of my trip to the Hank Williams Museum in downtown Montgomery, Alabama. Of course we did actually exit the museum proper afterwards and rejoined my friends’ mom in the lobby where I/we proceeded to take the pictures I posted two blog posts ago and stare at the large carving of an Indian that prompted one of Hank’s most popular songs, then politely said goodbye to the lady at the front desk and proceeded to exchange words of pointlessness once outside the building, but as that isn’t nearly as interesting as the actual museum itself, and as it doesn’t take very long to write, I needn’t bore you with the details of our departure, and suffice it to say that we left thereafter.
I am glad that I visited the Hank Williams Museum at least once before I move away. I wouldn’t necessarily want to go there again, but at least now I can say that I went, and that I now know more about Hank Williams than I did before. I hope you enjoyed my retelling as much as I enjoyed my visit *cough*, and I also hope that if you’re interested in seeing the museum without my excess of qualifiers that you’ll see the museum for yourself. Until then!

Read on!!

 

 

 

:EDIT: Hank’s wife was named Audrey, not Minnie. He had only two children, not three. Hank Williams, Jr. was with his first wife, Audrey Sheppard. His daughter, Jett, was conceived with another woman named Bobbie Jett while he was getting a divorce from Audrey. He divorced Audrey in May of 1952. He married his second wife, Billie Jean Jones, in October of 1952. Hank Williams died in January, 1953.

27: Hank Williams

As part of the research for my final project for my second semester of Honors English Composition, I visited the Hank Williams Museum in downtown Montgomery. Now, I’ve seen and passed by this museum for the past eight years that I’ve lived in Montgomery. I know that Hank Williams was born in Montgomery. I’ve driven (when I say ‘driven’…) on the highway that was named for him. While visiting my stepdad’s family plot in a cemetery downtown, we drove by his grave and I got to see it. But somehow, in all this time, I’d never actually been in the museum. Quite astonishing, really. XD

If you are 15 years old or older, the museum costs $10 apiece (an outrageous price, really). It’s $3 for those between the ages of 2 and 14, and free for those under two.
The museum itself is a tiny low storefront next to a hotel, and it always looks closed, even though it’s apparently usually open. It’s very inconspicuous, and so probably no wonder that I’d never actually been in there.
You can’t take pictures of the inside of the museum, but you are allowed to take pictures of the lobby, such that it is. Or rather, isn’t. So the pictures that I’m about to post in this post and the pictures that I’ll post on my project page and on my Padlet poster are from the lobby of the museum and from online; none from when I was actually allowed into the museum with two of my friends.

K iTouch Pics 04212013 068 K iTouch Pics 04212013 069

I should’ve taken a picture of the gigantic Indian statue that was in the middle of the “lobby”, which was apparently for his song “Kowaniga” (I think that’s what it’s called), and which had the signatures of a bunch of people on it, but I didn’t think it was that important. Perhaps I’ll find a picture online somewhere.

So that’s my short little picture post about the Hank Williams Museum. Perhaps soon I’ll actually write about what I saw in the museum itself, as some of it was fairly cool… *shrugs* Okay, one of his suits was pretty awesome. But the rest of it was just okay. XD

Laterz!!

Read on!! <3

26: Alabama Music

I am in the half of my English class that was unable to go to New York for four days (this Wednesday til tomorrow). It was not for lack of effort: I had a perfect GPA last semester, and I have more than enough service. No, I started college before the age of 18, and so by law I cannot go anywhere on a trip with AUM until I turn 18. D’Arvit. But, just because I’m not going to New York, that doesn’t mean I don’t have to do a final project. While the seven kids who did go to New York will be writing about memorials and things in New York, the six of us who were left behind in Montgomery will be writing about a particular subject in Montgomery and Alabama. In my case, since I’m ‘officially’ a professional musician now, I’m going to be writing about music in Alabama– well, I’m going to be writing about famous musicians from Alabama and famous music scenes/studios in Alabama. XD

So here we are! This is my quick update that I’ve been assigned to do about what I’ve found for my project. I’ve been studying for tests, cleaning my house, and releasing my first CD, so I haven’t had a whole lot of time, but I did find this Wikipedia page that should prove to be immensely helpful in giving me people, places, and things to research. Mwahaha. 😀

So that’s my quick update! You’ll probably be hearing more updates from me in the next couple weeks, and hopefully I’ll have more time to research, blog about my research, and possibly even blog about other things. Imagine that!

Read on, dearies!!

And if you want to see some of the things the lucky people in New York have been doing, look up #aumhonorsnyc on Twitter. A couple of cool pictures and funny stories, and, I’ll admit, a bit of jealousy on my part. XD Onwards ho!

17: The Story Behind It All

Just another quick update on how I’m doing on my writing project, and also a tiny bit about a video we watched for class. The video is a TED video (yay!) of a talk given by Andrew Stanton, the man who wrote and/or directed Finding Nemo, Wall-E, and Toy Story movies, about the importance of story in everything. And this plays in to the writing project that I’ll be posting shortly. Memorials and monuments tell stories, and telling about memorials is an even greater story. I think I’ve discovered the story behind the memorial that I’ve chosen, and I cannot wait to tell it to you. Soon I’ll post it, and we shall discover more about it together!
Read on!!