National Museum of African American Music celebrates first anniversary

Posted at 10:18 PM, Feb 21, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-22 09:00:31-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — The National Museum of African American Music (NMAAM) is celebrating its first year of operations, while museum leaders look to the future.

NMAAM opened on MLK Day, January 18, 2021, and has since hosted more than 110,000 visitors from across the world, and reached over 43,000 students across the country with online programming.

"It really has been gratifying to see people are coming, and they are having a good time," said Henry Hicks, President and CEO of NMAAM. "They are enjoying it. They are laughing, playing music, and learning something too."

In its first year, NMAAM also hosted its inaugural Black Music Month celebration on Juneteenth weekend of 2021. Members and guests experienced a museum dedication, Black Music Summit and seventh annual Celebration of Legends honoring Quincy Jones, Chaka Khan, Lionel Richie, Smokey Robinson and The Fisk Jubilee Singers with the Rhapsody & Rhythm Award.

The museum's mission is to inspire and educate the community on the many contributions Black artists have made to American culture and music. Throughout the 56,000-square-foot facility, guests have the opportunity to use interactive technology to learn stories behind musical genres ranging from classical to jazz to hip hop. Hicks said it is great to have the museum in the middle of downtown Nashville.

"Having a museum like this in the heart of the city represents that Music City includes all types of music," said Hicks. "It helps define our city’s brand."

Masks are currently required to visit the museum, and officials said they continue to work with Vanderbilt University Medical Center to implement guidelines that will ensure guests feel safe.

Hicks said he looks forward to building on the success of the first year, and welcoming even more guests in the future.

The NMAAM has been offering free admission on Wednesdays in February in honor of Black History Month. The final opportunity for free admission will be Feb. 23.

EVR is partnering with NMAAM to host a panel discussion Friday, Feb. 25 titled "Everybody vs. Racism." It will address the impact of racism, outline best practices to breaking down barriers and identify solutions to eradicate historical inequities. The event runs from 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. To register visit the event's web page.