After more than 20 years in development and months of delay due to the coronavirus pandemic, the National Museum of African American Music (NMAAM) will open next month during Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend in Nashville, Tenn.
The first multi-genre Black music museum will be the site of a socially distanced opening ceremony on Jan. 18 at its 56,000-square-foot-facility in the heart of downtown Nashville. The museum will open to the public officially on Jan. 30.
“We’re extremely excited to announce our grand opening date for all of the music fans who have been anxiously awaiting the debut of this museum,” said H. Beecher Hicks III, president and CEO of NMAAM. “This museum is a unique place that tells a special story. Our hope is that no matter your age, race or preferred music genre, within this museum you can find something that stirs your soul, pleases your ears and moves your feet.
“We encourage everyone to start planning their trips to Nashville for this first-of-its-kind institution dedicated to celebrating incredible people and moments in American history,” Hicks said.
Visitors will be exposed to African American musical history spanning several generations, according to museum officials.
The museum features seven content galleries—six permanent and one rotating—that chronicle Black musical traditions from the 1600s to the present.
More than 50 genres and sub-genres of American music are explored from spirituals and gospel, to jazz, blues, hip-hop and R&B.
Nashville was chosen for the location of the institution due to it being “Music City” where countless African American artists across many genres became legendary, including The Fisk Jubilee Singers, Jimi Hendrix, Ray Charles, Little Richard and Charley Pride, a country music pioneer who died last week at the age of 86.
“As the only museum in the nation with a dedicated focus on the impact African American music, NMAAM will strengthen and diversify the “Music City” brand with compelling connections to both local and national musical distinctions,” NMAAM said on its site.
“With Nashville known as Music City, the museum will be the final jewel in the city’s crown,” NMAAM said. “We’re preserving the history of America’s soundtrack in a place where music is truly celebrated on a daily basis.”