Nashville’s National Museum of African American Music to Open After 19 Years of Planning

The new museum, which has been 19 years in the planning, will feature several galleries dedicated to different genres of music, as well as a 200-seat theater.

The Celebration of Legends Gala 2019 at Music City Center in Nashville, Tennessee. Jason Kempin/Getty Images for the National Museum of African American Music

The city of Nashville is famous around the world for being the American capital of country music; the place where so many superstars made their dreams of lyrical superstardom come true. It’s also a place where, come Thursday, September 3 of 2020, you’ll be able to visit the newly-established National Museum of African American Music, an institution that’s over 20 years in the making. In an announcement made this week, the museum detailed what will be made available at its new facilities: 56,000 square feet of space dedicated to different galleries honoring the contributions black musicians have made to gospel, hip-hop, R&B, blues and more. Additionally, the museum will feature a 200-seat theater for special events, as well as rotating exhibitions.

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The Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce proposed the idea for the museum way back in 2002, but a significant amount of money needed to be raised in order for the project to unfold. Additionally, Nashville civically decided the city needed to actively attract more African American visitors and events, meaning that completing the NMAAM became essential to the city’s identity.

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“We’re extremely excited to announce our September grand opening date for all of the music fans who have been anxiously awaiting the debut of this museum,” H. Beecher Hicks III, the President and CEO of NMAAM, said in a statement. “This museum is a unique place that tells a special story. Our hope is that no matter your age, race or preferred music genre, within this museum you can find something that stirs your soul, pleases your ears and moves your feet. We encourage everyone to start planning their 2020 trips to Nashville and purchase your tickets to this first-of-its-kind institution dedicated to celebrating incredible people and moments in American history.”

Nashville is also home to a wealth of other incredible museums, including the Frist Art Museum and a to-scale replica of the Parthenon in Greece, as well as a burgeoning arts scene blooming in the city’s Five Points neighborhood and in North Nashville. Clearly, if you’re looking to spend time in a flourishing arts city that isn’t an old standby like Los Angeles or New York, Nashville is one of your best bets.

Nashville’s National Museum of African American Music to Open After 19 Years of Planning