A museum dedicated to celebrating the legacies of Black musicians who were instrumental in shaping the landscape of music is coming to Tennessee. According to Black Enterprise, The National Museum of African American Music will open its doors in Nashville this summer.
The institution—which will live in the heart of Downtown Nashville—will explore Music City’s impact on the industry and highlight the contributions of influential Black music artists who shaped the music scene locally, nationally, and globally. The 56,000-square-foot facility will feature a wide collection of relics and memorabilia that help illustrate narratives intertwined with Black music history dating back to the early 1600s. The museum will also feature several galleries and a theater and use interactive state-of-the-art technology to convey how Black artists have influenced different genres.
The institution—which will be led by H. Beecher Hicks, III—has a star-studded team of national chairs which includes singers India.Arie, Keb’ Mo, Darius Rucker, and CeCe Winans. The project, which was introduced by members of the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce in 2002, broke ground in 2017. “The museum tells a unique story,” Hicks told Rolling Out. “Most music museums focus on a label, a genre or an artist, but we really put all of that great music into context. I think we are as much a history museum as we are a music museum.”
There have been several efforts made to push projects that celebrate Black music history forward. Last year legendary music mogul Berry Gordy donated $4 million towards the expansion of the Detroit-based Motown Museum. The museum—which is inside of the record label’s first headquarters—captures the history, impact and influence that Motown has had on the music industry and beyond by highlighting the stories of artists like Stevie Wonder, The Temptations, Marvin Gaye and The Jackson 5.