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Destination Texas: Explore country music history


CARTHAGE, Texas (KTAL/KMSS) – The state of Texas has produced its fair share of country music singers, and there is a museum dedicated to them in East Texas.

The Texas Country Music Hall of Fame is dedicated to stars like George Jones, Tanya Tucker and Neal McCoy. “Most of the people that you see in here, well, all of the people that were still alive, came here, they performed for our audience, we personally inducted them and they helped us with their displays,” said CEO Tommie Ritter Smith.

Thousands visit this site every year to learn more about their favorite entertainers, including Willie Nelson. He was among the first inductees. “He sang all of his hit songs, I mean ‘Blue Eyes Cryin’ In The Rain’, ‘On The Road Again’ … he actually stayed at the auditorium until 1 o’clock in the morning til every single person that wanted a picture with him or his autograph, he’s a true trooper,” Ritter Smith said.

The tribute began as the Tex Ritter Museum in the early 1990’s. The actor and singer was born and raised in Panola County. “Some of the western movie stars at that time couldn’t sing, and actually they weren’t really cowboys,” she said. “But Tex was both.”

A few years later, the museum was expanded to honor other Texans.

This year’s celebration to honor the 2020 inductee has been canceled due to the pandemic, but the public is welcome to visit the museum Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. For more information you can call (903) 694-9561 or find the Texas Country Music Hall of Fame on the web at

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