Dec. 3—RED BAY, Al. — The Red Bay Museum is home to an incredible array of local artifacts, but the crown jewel is its collection of Tammy Wynette memorabilia — the largest collection currently on display.
Wynette was born in Itawamba County and attended Tremont High School. But Red Bay, Alabama, was the closest town for shopping and entertainment. She famously joked that her top half came from Mississippi and her bottom half came from Alabama, museum curator Scotty Kennedy said.
Kennedy has volunteered at the museum since 2006 and has seen the Wynette exhibit grow 10 times in size since the museum's inception thanks to contributions from the country music icon's friends, family and fans.
The collection includes show posters, vinyl records, clothing and other items associated with or owned by Wynette through the years.
And there are numerous photographs, some of which Kennedy took himself.
Over the years, Georgette Jones, the only daughter of Wynette and George Jones, has also donated and loaned various items to the museum's collection.
The latest additions are a large two-story doll house featured in an episode of the new Showtime series "George & Tammy" and two dresses that once belonged to Wynette that were given to Jones by the show's creators.
Photographs of Wynette wearing each of the dresses are displayed next to them. It's one of the ways the museum ensures it's showcasing authentic memorabilia.
"It makes us so happy that mom is being honored in such a wonderful way," Jones said of the museum. "And they do really a brilliant job. It's really well done."
Jones said her mother would've loved that the exhibit is part of the Red Bay Museum.
"He has mom's best interest at heart," Jones said of Kennedy. "Which makes us very comfortable to know that they're going to always do such a good job with everything."
Kennedy, who moved to Red Bay from Shannon at 6 years old, said it just makes sense to celebrate Wynette's life.
"To see her go from living out in rural Itawamba County to an international star, I mean, we have to honor her and keep her memory alive," Kennedy said. "The people who knew her are older, and there's a whole generation that doesn't. But by the time they leave here, they do."