Country music is arguably one of the biggest tourist draws for Nashville, Tennessee. The pandemic quieted Nashville’s hottest hot spots for a while, like the Ryman, Printers Alley, and the iconic honky-tonks on Broadway. However, there’s more to Music City’s music scene, like the National Museum of African American Music (NMAAM), a new museum that opened at the end of January 2021. Just in time for Black History Month!
But the museum doesn’t just focus on Nashville’s African American music roots. Let’s explore what Nashville’s newest museum is all about and how you can experience it.
The National Museum of African American history
The idea for the museum was actually born back in 2002. On the museum’s History page, they explain that “members of the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce proposed the idea of the National Museum of African American Music (NMAAM) as a way to celebrate and preserve the influence African Americans have had on music.”
After establishing a task force to determine the feasibility of the idea, they determined something was needed to attract more African American tourists and conventions to Nashville. They also determined they should adjust their focus from Nashville-centered arts, culture, and music history to a focus on national African American music history.
The groundbreaking for the museum took place in 2017. The 56,000-square-foot facility was originally scheduled to open over Labor Day Weekend in 2020, but, well…darn pandemic!
But it’s open now and here’s what all it includes.
Inside The National Museum of African American
What will you find inside the museum? In addition to artifacts like instruments, stage costumes and photographs, you’ll find galleries that “honor genres inspired, created, or influenced by African-Americans.” These include:
- The Roots Theater for immersive film experiences
- Rivers of Rhythm Pathways details the evolution of African American music traditions
- Wade in the Water presents the African Amerian religious experience from the 1600s to the present
- Crossroads details the Great Migration and the Emergence of Blues in the early 1900s
- A Love Supreme chronicles the Harlem Renaissance and the emergence of jazz
- One Nation Under a Groove tackles the Civil Rights Movement from the 1940s to present
- The Message explores the power behind hip hop from the 1970s to the present
The National Museum of African American visitor information
The museum isn’t open on a daily basis just yet. For February 2021, it will only be open Saturdays and Sundays from 9 am – 4 pm. Hopefully, its opening hours will increase once the pandemic is better under control.
Tickets cost $24.95 for adults (18-64), $18.75 for seniors (65+), $13.50 for youths (7 to 17) and $0 for children under 7.
Tickets must be purchased online and adhere to a timed admission protocol.
For more info, visit their website: nmaam.org.