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The National Museum of African American Music explores the rich history of black music, touching on more than 50 genres and styles, including spirituals, blues, jazz, gospel, R&B, and hip-hop. Featuring six interactive galleries equipped with state-of-the-art technology, the museum’s mission is to educate and transform the appreciation of African American music history and culture.
The 56,000-square-foot facility, located within the urban development known as Fifth + Broadway in the heart of Music City, showcases how today’s artists are connected to the traditions born out of the African American Experience. The museum’s expertly-curated collections shine a light on the American soundtrack by combining history and interactive technology, bringing the sounds of our past into the present. Through historic artifacts, quotes, intriguing memorabilia, clothing, creative educational programming, and state-of-the-art technology, each of the museum galleries shares a unique story and perspective on African American music.
This unforgettable museum experience will share the story of how a distinct group of people used their artistry to help change the world.
The National Museum of African American Music’s galleries and exhibitions have been designed around the theme of Rivers of Rhythm which creates a wave-like path for visitors to follow. The first of six interactive experiences begins in the Roots Theater where visitors watch an introductory film. The Rivers of Rhythm corridor features touch panel interactives and an animated timeline that links American history with American music history. From there, visitors explore the Wade in the Water gallery documenting the history and influence of religious music from indigenous African music that survived during slavery. The Crossroads gallery chronicles the history and influence of the blues. The Love Supreme gallery examines the survival of African indigenous musical traditions in Congo Square and explores the early beginnings of jazz. Finally, the One Nation Under A Groove gallery documents the history and influence of rhythm and blues, or R&B, which emerged in the years following the end of World War II. Each captivating experience further immerses the visitor into the African-American culture and highlights the significant ways black music shaped our nation’s history.