By Raymond Ward, The New 411
The National Museum of African American Music (NMAAM) officially opened on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, in mid-January. The museum hosted 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.
The museum opened to the public on Saturday, January 30. 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.”
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.
To purchase group tickets, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 615-393-6971.
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. 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.
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.
NMAAM partnered with several companies that have stepped up to make the museum experience memorable, including: Xperi (TiVo): The digital entertainment technology company provided data to power the “Roots and Streams” interactive platform featured in each museum gallery.
Under Armour: The sports apparel and equipment company has partnered with the museum to provide UA SPORTSMASKs, apparel and footwear for the museum staff.
Clearbrook Hospitality: The Nashville-based hospitality group has partnered with the museum to oversee all group ticket sales, with more than 80,000 museum tickets already pre-purchased.
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 focusing 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 was realized.
For more information, visit [www.blackmusicmuseum.org].