A trip to Dollywood is not complete without a tour of the Chasing Rainbows Museum. The largest museum of its kind, all its exhibits lead you through Dolly Parton’s rags-to-riches story, showing you just why the world finds her so endearing. To get there, you just have to follow the rainbow path through the Adventures in Imagination. Then you can go on a self-guided tour to remember, which all starts with a warm welcome as you come through the doors.
Get a Warm Welcome from the Queen of Country
Although Dolly would undoubtedly love to greet every museum guest in person, she’s far too busy writing, recording, and performing her hit songs to make it happen. So, as a compromise, her hologram awaits the chance to welcome you into the museum.
As you watch the digital greeting, you can feel the genuine love and appreciation Dolly has for all her guests. Then, at the end, she transforms into a butterfly, sending that Dollywood magic your way as you head off into the museum.
Explore Dolly’s Humble Beginnings and Beyond
To kick off your tour, you’ll get to explore Dolly’s humble beginnings growing up dirt poor in the shadow of the Great Smoky Mountains in East Tennessee. You’ll get to see a replica of the one-room cabin she grew up in with her 12 siblings and parents, Avie and Robert.
Then, you can explore similar replicas of her childhood schoolhouse, grandfather’s church, and the Greene’s Rolling Store bus that traveled around her hometown. The exhibits continue to follow her personal life through her marriage to her husband and beyond. You can even listen to interviews from her family and many wonderful friends she made through the years.
From a Coat of Many Colors to Glamorous Sequin Gowns
Dolly Parton has always had a stunning sense of style – and it all started with the coat of many colors hand-stitched from rags by her mother. While its design was born of necessity, this modest coat was worn with pride by young Dolly who instantly recognized the love put into every stitch. Although she grew up to afford all the glamorous gowns in the world, her gratitude for life’s little gifts never wavered.
All across the museum, you get to explore her literal journey from wearing rags to enjoying all the riches in the world. A replica of her famous coat of many colors stands on display right next to the laundry slip where she penned her heartwarming song in its honor. On the other side of the equation, her most iconic sequined gowns also sit on display, showing what passion, gratitude, and plenty of hard work can do.
Honor a Lifetime’s Worth of Hard Work and Dedication
Many more exhibits take you on a walk through Dolly’s early career, starting with the Cas Walker Show and her first record, “Puppy Love.” Then, you can explore all her handwritten lyrics and listen to her famous tunes to your heart’s content – Dolly has penned over 3,000 songs! After that, check out all the costumes from her movie career and time hosting The Dolly TV show.
Serving as evidence of her ability to turn all she touches into gold, there’s even a two-story case filled with awards of all kinds. Her Grammy’s, Academy of Country Music awards, and many other career accolades glimmer from the stand.
Gaze at All of Dolly Parton’s Most Treasured Mementos
Growing up poor made Dolly treasure all the things life has ever brought her way. As a result, she has collected everything from old love letters and paintings to quilts and dressing room signs. And they’re all on display throughout the museum.
In one section, dubbed Dolly’s Attic, you get to hear Dolly share stories about many of the item’s origins and meaning to her. Plus, there’s an exhibit set up where you can get answers to all your most pressing questions about her treasures, life’s work, and so much more.
Once you’re finished exploring the museum, don’t miss the chance to check out Dolly’s old tour bus parked right out front. You can board the bus to take a peek around, and then come back out for a photo to hold dear forevermore