Museum honoring Black contributions to music opens soon in Nashville

The National Museum of African American Music will formally open Jan. 18 with a socially distanced ribbon-cutting ceremony.
The National Museum of African American Music will formally open Jan. 18 with a socially distanced ribbon-cutting ceremony.

Credit: Social media photo architect Harold Thompson

Credit: Social media photo architect Harold Thompson

A new history museum honoring African American contributions to music will open next month in Nashville, Tennessee, according to reports.

The National Museum of African American Music will formally open Jan. 18 with a socially distanced ribbon-cutting ceremony, The Associated Press reported.

Museum VIPs will be the first to tour the inside of the facility between Jan. 23-24, before it opens to the general public on Jan. 30.

The initial opening plan was delayed due to restrictions caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

The museum’s website says it will display “objects and artifacts that support its mission and vision to educate and transform the appreciation of African American music-history and culture.”

The collection includes instruments, stage costumes, sheet music, recording equipment, photographs and interactive exhibits, according to the website. The facility will also feature a research library with classrooms, a courtyard lounge and a boutique café.

Museum President and CEO H. Beecher Hicks III said he is excited to celebrate the history of African American music.

“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,” he said.

Nashville’s hottest new spot joins more than 100 other museums across the nation devoted to African American history, many of them focused on slavery, civil rights and Black cultural achievements. But NMAAM may be the first in the U.S. to singularly honor Black music.

“African American influences are so fundamental to American music that there would be no American music without them,” according to the Smithsonian Institution, which touts thousands of Black music artifacts among a renowned collection of Americana.

The members of the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce first proposed the idea for the museum in 2002 as a way to attract more African American-related events to the downtown area.

Construction of the building launched in April 2017 on the city’s old convention center site.

Because of the coronavirus pandemic, the museum said, it would limit the number of people inside the museum and all visitors would be required to wear masks.

Tickets are available for tours that occur every half hour.

Adults 18 and older will pay $24.95; the cost for ages 7-17 is $13.50; while 6 and under will be admitted for free. Tickets for people age 65 and above cost $18.75, which is the same price for students, teachers and military servicemembers.

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