The First-ever Museum Dedicated to African American Music Will Soon Open in Nashville

The museum will open to the public on Jan. 30, 2021.

Nashville is already known as a country music destination, but now it’s getting a bit more soul, gospel, and R&B, thanks to the addition of a new museum focusing on African American music. The National Museum of African American Music will host a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Jan. 18, 2021, with the space officially opening to the public on the 30th of that month.

According to the museum’s website, the “56,000-square-foot facility will be an anchor tenant within the urban development known as Fifth + Broadway located in the heart of Music City. It is the only museum dedicated to educating, preserving, and celebrating more than 50 music genres and styles that were created, influenced, and/or inspired by African Americans.”

Rendering of National Museum of African American Music
Courtesy of NMAAM

The National Museum of African American Music is the first and only museum of its kind in the U.S. When opened, it will feature seven galleries that use artifacts, objects, memorabilia, clothing, and state-of-the-art technology to walk guests through the history of African American music, from the early 1600s to present day. “More than 50 genres and sub-genres of American music are explored from spirituals and gospel, to jazz, blues, R&B, hip-hop, and more,” according to a press release.

Rendering of National Museum of African American Music
Courtesy of NMAAM

The experience starts with a short introductory film that gives visitors an overview of West and Central African cultures and the institution of slavery. It then goes on to describe the various historical time periods that influenced the creation of African American music, such as the Reconstruction era, Jim Crow, the Great Migration, World War I and II, and the Harlem Renaissance.

“We have been preparing for this day for more than 20 years, but this museum has actually been more than 400 years in the making,” H. Beecher Hicks III, museum president and CEO, told Matador Network.

Rendering of exhibition space in National Museum of African American Music in Nashville
Courtesy of NMAAM

Due to COVID-19 safety protocols, the museum will only allow a limited number of guests in at a time. All guests will also be required to wear a mask. For more information, visit the museum’s official website.

Jessica Poitevien is a Travel + Leisure contributor currently based in South Florida, but always on the lookout for the next adventure. Besides traveling, she loves baking, talking to strangers, and taking long walks on the beach. Follow her adventures on Instagram.

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