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‘They best have a big space:’ Loretta Lynn gets her own museum exhibit

Loretta Lynn performs at the BBC Music Showcase at Stubb’s during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 17, 2016. The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum is opening an exhibit on her life and career. “Loretta Lynn: Blue Kentucky Girl” opens Aug. 25. 2017, and runs through Aug. 5, 2018.
Loretta Lynn performs at the BBC Music Showcase at Stubb’s during South By Southwest in Austin, Texas on March 17, 2016. The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum is opening an exhibit on her life and career. “Loretta Lynn: Blue Kentucky Girl” opens Aug. 25. 2017, and runs through Aug. 5, 2018. Invision/AP

A country music legend who started her singing career at a Whatcom County grange hall is getting her own museum exhibit in Nashville.

Loretta Lynn: Blue Kentucky Girl” opens Aug. 25 at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum and runs through Aug. 5, 2018.

The exhibit is named after one of Lynn’s favorite recorded songs, written by Johnny Mullins.

Lynn emerged as one of country music’s first female stars in the early 1960s, but only after receiving 17 blue ribbons at the Northwest Washington Fair for her canned vegetables. She has multiple gold albums, won numerous Grammy and Country Music Association awards, and was given the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2013.

Though known for her Kentucky roots, Lynn lived in Whatcom County for 11 years – from 1950, when she was 14 and pregnant, until 1961, soon after she recorded her first hit, “I’m a Honky Tonk Girl.”

Loretta Lynn Fair
Loretta Lynn performs at the Northwest Washington Fair in Lynden, Washington on August 17, 1974. Courtesy The Bellingham Herald

While her husband, Doolittle “Mooney” Lynn, found jobs, she had three more children, cooked, cleaned, and when she had a bit of spare time, practiced on her $17 guitar and sang along to the radio at their Custer home.

In 1960, she sang on stage for the first time, at the Delta Grange hall. Lynn has performed several times at the Northwest Washington Fair.

Highlights of the Nashville exhibit include Lynn’s original handwritten manuscript for her 1970 hit, “Coal Miner’s Daughter,” the microphone used at her first recording session, and the Singer sewing machine she used to make her stage clothes early in her career. It also includes a rare 1956 Gibson J-50, used extensively by Lynn in performance and given to her by her husband Mooney, who made the Formica pick guard.

“Gonna show off my 50 some odd years in country music,” Lynn said in a news release. “They best have a big space ... I have a lot of stuff!”

The 85-year-old singer-songwriter suffered a stroke in May and is recovering at home following a stay at a rehabilitation center. She said in a statement from the museum she’s excited about the exhibit displaying her more than 50 years in country music.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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