Music lovers have yet another reason to visit Nashville as the National Museum of African American Music is preparing to launch in January 2021.

It's no overstatement to say that African American music changed the world. From gospel to jazz, R&B to hip-hop, funk to rap, house to techno and soul and more, its influence stretches worldwide, bends genres and transcends cultures. It's the backbone of our music landscape. And given its particular significance in American history and culture, it's fitting that there's now a place to honor the music and the musicians who shaped it when the National Museum of African American Music opens in Nashville.

Rendering of an exhibit documenting blues music in America
Six permanent galleries will explore different genres of African American music traditions © NMAAM

It's been 20 years in the making and, according to NMAAM, it's the only museum "dedicated solely to educating, preserving and celebrating the influence African Americans have had on music." It will trace black music traditions from the 1600s up to the present day. And more than 50 genres and sub-genres will be represented in six permanent galleries, alongside a 200-seat theater venue and a rotating gallery.

"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," said H. Beecher Hicks III, NMAAM's president and CEO. "

Hip-hop displays and artefacts at the National Museum of African American Music
The Message Gallery explores the roots of hip-hop and its wide-ranging influence © NMAAM

Located in the heart of downtown Nashville on 7th Avenue, the museum is preparing to officially open in January 2021. A socially distanced ribbon-cutting ceremony is scheduled for the 18th, with members-only tours taking place on the 23rd and 24th. The facility will then open to the public on January 30th. Advance tickets can be purchased here with admission prices ranging from $13.50 (£10) to $24.95 (£19). Children six and under are free. Tickets will be sold in time slots and social distancing measures will apply.

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This article was originally published June 2020. It was updated December 2020.

This article was first published Jun 3, 2020 and updated Dec 10, 2020.

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