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Published on May 27, 2024
Dollywood Unveils "The Dolly Parton Experience" - A Tribute to the Icon's Roots and Rise to FameSource: Kristopher Harris, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Queen of Country, Dolly Parton, just gave fans three more reasons to flock to Dollywood. The celebrated performer’s latest venture, the "Dolly Parton Experience," is a sprawling homage to Parton’s life, from her modest upbringing in East Tennessee to her ascent as a cultural icon. Over the weekend, Parton personally welcomed visitors to the park, ushering in the new era of this immersive attraction.

"It’s sweet, she loves her family and everybody has family so it’s just an exciting thing that she’s mine and I’m very protective of her and that bond," Dolly’s niece, Rebecca Seaver, who curates the museum, told WVLT. Spanning across three buildings, the experience showcases memorabilia, interactive exhibits, and stories that detail the legend’s magical journey. Seaver oversees the maintenance of Parton's archive, including her expansive wardrobe collection. Once Parton removes a piece, it becomes a relic for posterity under Seaver's care.

The attraction, which is three times the size of the previous Chasing Rainbows Museum, promises a constantly evolving narrative. "The Dolly Parton Experience" includes direct inspirations from Parton’s life, including a look inside her design shop in an exhibit called 'Behind the Seams.' Steve Summers, Creative Director at Dolly Parton Enterprises, highlighted the authenticity of the displays. "These are all real things, this is all the real stuff," Summers explained in an interview highlighted by Your Sports Edge.

Confirming her commitment to keeping the content fresh, Seaver shared with Your Sports Edge, "But this one we made it so that we could get in these cases and switch things out seasonally." Parton's influence also reaches into the theme park's entertainment roster with Heidi Parton’s Kin & Friends, a family show that frames Dolly’s songwriting legacy within the contours of a live performance.

However, the "Songteller" exhibit, part of a new walk-through space in Dollywood, is where the heart of the narrative pulses. "I hope that's what people can feel. It's just about the journey," Parton revealed to USA Today. The exhibition positions guests on a path through replicas of Parton's childhood home, the Ryman Auditorium, and other personal landmarks while telling the story of her illustrious career. Even more, fans can anticipate a new album, “Dolly Parton and Family: Smoky Mountain DNA – Family, Faith and Fables,” capturing her familial musical heritage.