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First Museum Dedicated To African American Music To Open In Nashville

By Parker Diakite

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The highly anticipated National Museum of African American Music is on track to open this summer in Nashville and when it does, it will be the only museum in the country to showcase music genres inspired by Black Americans.

The museum is opening nearly 5 years after then-mayor Karl Dean announced plans to revitalize the city’s convention center on Fifth and Broadway into a new space full of apartments, retail, office spaces, and the museum.

“The perception nationally, I think, is that Nashville is just country music. And while we love country music, I think it’s important to touch base on all the other musical genres African Americans have helped to influence,” Tamar Smithers, director of Education and Public Programs​​, told Black Enterprise.

Since 2002, NMAAM has raised more than $60 million and collected over 1,500 artifacts for the museum. NMAAM will include seven galleries, a theater, and a space for live music.  In addition,  staff will educate visitors on the influence and contributions that Black Americans had on America’s music.  

R&B, hip-hop, soul, funk, Jazz, and Gospel are just a few of more than 50 genres and sub-genres of music that will be showcased and highlighted in the museum.

“We thought it was very important for us to establish having robust educational programs and initiatives well in place for the community to engage them and increase that investment well before we open,” Smithers said. “We’re still committed to ensuring we’re engaging the community and making sure we’re taking our programs outside of the museum to Nashville, middle Tennessee, and across the nation.”

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