June 01, 2003 - December 31, 2003
The Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum saluted Hall of Fame member Eddy Arnold with this exhibit, which got its name from Arnold’s 1947 hit “I’ll Hold You in My Heart (Till I Can Hold You in My Arms).” Drawn from the spectacular donation made by the country legend and his wife, Sally, at a star-studded ceremony in March 2003.
That gift - the largest donation representing a single life and career in the Museum’s history - includes 5,000 recorded radio shows, 2,000 photographs, 2,000 cans of film from Arnold’s syndicated television series, 32 file-cabinet drawers of press clippings, 1,000 pieces of sheet music, industry awards, gold records, business documents, personal correspondence, and handcrafted presents from fans.
“I’ll Hold You in My Heart offers a series of vignettes depicting various aspects of Mr. Arnold’s achievements as performer, recording artist and TV star,” said Vice President of Museum Services Lauren Bufferd. “The exhibit highlights the importance of his donation while stressing his pioneering role in the transformation of country music from its rural, folk origins to its current urban appeal and international popularity.”
The three-part exhibit began in the Museum’s queuing area, where numerous awards and certificates given to Arnold over his long and fruitful career are displayed. In the second-floor gallery, the exhibit highlights aspects of Arnold’s career, personality, and private life. Included are instruments, stagewear, memorabilia, recordings, handmade gifts from fans, photographs, posters, personal items, television scripts and more. Among the highlights are the singer’s customized Gibson J-200 guitar and his 1967 Entertainer of the Year Award, the first ever presented by the Country Music Association.
The exhibit concluded behind the glass wall of the second-floor collection vault, in a segment of the exhibit that spotlights items of particular significance in their research value, such as song demonstration tapes, transcription discs, and scrapbooks.
In addition to the artifacts, video components of the exhibit featured highlights from Arnold’s stage, screen, and recording career, including excerpts from his syndicated television show Eddy Arnold Time and a newly filmed music video of the song “To Life.”