State launches the Ken Burns Country Music Passport

The Minnie Pearl Chicken Wire Sculpture sits in the middle of the town square in the singer’s hometown of Centerville. It’s one of 22 iconic sites in Tennessee that appear in Ken Burns’ PBS documentary Country Music and the new Tennessee Tourism pathway. (A Lynchburg Time Photo)

STATE NEWS — The Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, the site of Patsy Cline’s airplane crash in Camden, and the giant Minnie Pearl Chicken Wire Sculpture in Centerville … they are all part of Ken Burns’ PBS documentary Country Music and a new tourism pathway developed by Tennessee Tourism.

The Tennessee Department of Tourist Development recently launched a new digital passport to encourage music lovers to visit the nearly two dozen sites in Tennessee that appear in Ken Burns’ PBS documentary Country Music, as part of a campaign promoting Tennessee Music Pathways.

Using a web-based application created by Salt Lake City-based Bandwango, travelers can document their visits and redeem their “stamped” passports for prizes ranging from a limited-edition Hatch Show Print to a copy of Ken Burns Country Music: An Illustrated History, or a Tennessee Music Pathways branded guitar. Passports are available through October 18 online.

Tennessee Tourism launched a physical passport for the Ken Burns Country Music Pathway in 2019, and is adding the digital passport to make the traveling experience and “stamp collecting” even easier.

Nearly 50 million people in the U.S. and millions more worldwide watched Ken Burns’ critically acclaimed “Country Music” when it aired in 2019, making it one of the most-watched documentary series in history. More than 10 percent of viewers (4 million) streamed the 16-part series online, and thousands more continue to watch on Amazon Prime each month, nearly two years after its premier.

Locations that inspired the music on the “Ken Burns Country Music Pathway” include The Birthplace of Country Music Museum (Bristol), Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum (Nashville), Sun Studio (Memphis), Beale Street (Memphis), Elvis Presley’s Graceland (Memphis), The Grand Ole Opry (Nashville), Ryman Auditorium (Nashville), Minnie Pearl Statue (Centerville), Loretta Lynn’s Ranch & Campground (Hurricane Mills), Patsy Cline Museum (Nashville) and airplane crash site marker (Camden) and the Dolly Parton Statue (Sevierville). •

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