This post was written by Matthew Dudman, whose wife Jenny is the granddaughter of Vern Williams, recently departed bluegrass legend. It was originally posted in The B, our reader-dominated section of Bluegrass Today, where any registered user can submit items for publication.
The International Bluegrass Music Museum in Owensboro, KY has recently acquired various personal and related items of the great Vern Williams intended for a future exhibit centered around Vern. Curator Liz Fuhrman Bragg and Executive Director Gabrielle Gray immediately indicated extreme interest in including the items in a rotating piece on seminal first generation bluegrass performers.
Vern’s granddaughter Jenny and Matt Dudman traveled to the museum on June 23rd with certain key personal items of Vern Williams and band-members, contributed by the Williams family, Keith Little, Ed Neff and others. The items included the fine Stetson hat he wore on the cover of the eminently important Bluegrass From the Gold Country, a mandolin that Vern made himself, Keith Little’s western-style herringbone jacket (also worn on the Gold Country cover), setlists, a copy of the Sounds From the Ozarks LP Vern made with his long-time partner Ray Park, as well as several carefully chosen photographs of Vern and company.
The museum intends to organize and prepare the items for display shortly in a rotating exhibit on first generation bluegrass musicians. They currently regularly run Vern’s DVD produced by request of the museum as a part of the Video Oral History Project on Bluegrass Masters. This tribute and exhibition is another significant monument to Vern’s influence upon, and importance to, our beloved music.