The National Museum of African American Music (NMAAM) will officially open on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Monday, Jan. 18, 2021. On that day, the museum will host a socially distant ribbon-cutting ceremony with museum board members, staff, elected officials and community leaders at the entrance to the museum located at the corner of Fifth Avenue and Broadway in downtown Nashville, Tennessee.
Museum members will have the opportunity to tour the museum during Members Preview Weekend on Saturday, Jan. 23, and Sunday, Jan. 24, and the museum will open to the public the following weekend, on Saturday, Jan. 30, 2021. Tours will initially follow a weekend schedule and will be held on Saturdays and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Those wishing to visit the museum should visit the website, www.NMAAM.org, to stay updated on when tickets will become available.
“NMAAM is complete!” said NMAAM President and CEO H. Beecher Hicks III. “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. We look forward to welcoming music lovers from around the world to this magnificent cultural experience. We also want to thank the thousands of people who have supported us along the way, as we prepare to celebrate the history of African American music, which truly is the soundtrack of our nation.”
In honor of MLK Day, the museum is partnering with Nashville-based Interdenominational Ministers Fellowship to celebrate the museum’s opening as part of IMF’s MLK Jr. Day program.
Given the escalating threat of COVID-19 in recent days, the museum will be allowing a limited number of visitors inside the facility, and those visits will be scheduled only on weekends for the foreseeable future. Masks or face coverings will be required for entrance, and guests will be asked to remain socially distant.
Once safety precautions can be relaxed, tickets to the museum will be made available for purchase on the museum’s website for designated timeslots that allow for new tours to start every 30 minutes. The pricing is $24.95 for adult general admission, $18.75 for students and teachers with ID and senior citizens, $13.50 for museum guests ages 7–17, and free for visitors 6 years old and under. Three-day individual passes can be purchased for $37.50 for anyone of any age.
Anchoring the new downtown mixed-use development Fifth + Broadway, the 56,000-square-foot museum is the only museum in the world dedicated to preserving and celebrating more than 50 music genres and styles that were created, influenced or inspired by African Americans, including spirituals, blues, jazz, gospel, R&B, and hip hop.
With more than 1,500 artifacts, objects, memorabilia and clothing, along with state-of-the-art technology, each of the museum’s seven galleries is designed to share a different narrative and a unique perspective on African American music and history.
The Road to Opening
Getting to opening day has been a long journey that has involved many museum supporters. The original idea for the museum was conceived in 1998 when Nashville community leaders Francis Guess and Dr. T.B. Boyd were inspired to start a Nashville museum honoring African American cultural contributions. The concept grew into a national museum and eventually one focused on African American music and its impact on American society and culture. With the support of the Nashville Convention and Visitors Corporation, the city of Nashville, the Music City Center and hundreds of generous financial supporters, the museum’s ultimate vision has finally been realized. After readjusting opening plans due to COVID-19, the NMAAM staff has completed exhibition installations and is poised to welcome visitors from around the world. Updates on the availability of tickets can be found at www.nmaam.org.
The National Museum of African American Music, set to open Jan. 18, 2021, will be the only museum in the world dedicated solely to preserving African American music traditions and celebrating the central role African Americans have played in shaping American music. Based in Nashville, Tenn., the museum will share the story of the American soundtrack by integrating history and interactive technology to honor the musical heroes of African American music of the past and the present. For more information, please visit www.blackmusicmuseum.org.