Women of Country Music celebrated at NC Museum of History 

(Photo Courtesy of North Carolina Museum of History)

RALEIGH The North Carolina Museum of History now has an exhibit available for visitors called The Power of Women in Country Music. A perfect history-dense exhibition for country music lovers, the exhibit will be available until Apr. 2, 2023. 

Micheal Ausbon, decorative arts curator for the museum of history and executive mansion has been curating for over five years at the museum. Ausbon is the co-curator for The Power of Women in Country Music alongside Katie Edwards. As the pair worked on preparing the exhibit on loan from the GRAMMY museum in Los Angeles, Ausbon said they were excited to “add our North Carolina touch.” 

The exhibit features international artists such as Emmylou Harris, Dolly Parton, and Taylor Swift, but also spotlights North Carolina female artists such as Rhiannon Giddens and Kasey Tyndall. 

“The title of this exhibition was Stronger Together: The Power of Women in Country Music,” Ausbon said. “Kind of an overall theme that is so important is that even though these women broke all these barriers, people like Dolly did not take their fame and fortune and run with it alone, they all supported each other, even from the very beginning.” 

Visitors to the exhibition have the opportunity to explore costumes, instruments, and other artifacts of a full roster of 70 female country artists. Alongside the displays are stories, quotes, and blurbs about historic Carolina country. Country music having deep roots in North Carolina’s soil creates a special atmosphere for native visitors to experience. 

“This is a very focused exhibit. We have done other exhibits with women being the focus, but I think this one incorporates all the different cultures and histories of these women coming together to perform this part that is so embedded in our history,” Ausbon said. “Country music is not just country music, it’s gospel, it’s blues, it’s rockabilly, it’s all these things that are already in North Carolina but has been reworked in a new way.” 

In conjunction with The Power of Women in Country Music exhibit, The North Carolina Museum of History launched a new event series, Southern Songbirds. Kara Leinfelder, producer of Southern Songbirds, began planning these events to correspond with the exhibit and to showcase North Carolina female country artists. 

“I lived in Nashville for six years and I saw so much music there,” Leinfelder said. “I was like there has to be a lot of music, that has to be a part of it.” 

Jim Lauderdale, North Carolina native and legend, emcees the Southern Songbird events and creates the uplifting energy for the artists performing each time. 

“One of the things I love most about this state is the music,” Leinfelder said. “Our museum is wonderful and we have amazing exhibits, but to add an experience that supports what the exhibits are teaching, it just makes it so much better for people to feel engaged and a part of what we’re doing.”