National Museum of African American Music
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510 Broadway
Nashville, TN 37203
Organization Details



The National Museum of African American Music's mission is to educate the world, preserve the legacy, and celebrate the central role African Americans play in creating the American soundtrack.


In 2000, various persons from the public and private sectors convened at the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce under the direction of Cal Turner to discuss the feasibility of establishing an African American museum in Nashville. Important visionaries at this time were Dr. T. B. Boyd and Francis Guess. By 2003, a major focus group was conducted with the community with meetings held under the leadership of Lord Cultural Resources.This yielded a Master Museum plan. In 2006 the Board secured $10M from the City of Nashville to construct the Museum building. In February 2009, the Museum Board hired its first full time Executive Director and by 2010, the name was changed to the National Museum of African American Music (NMAAM) to reflect the focus of music. In 2013, H. Beecher Hicks, III, a previous member of the Board was hired as President/CEO of the Museum and by 2014, the Museum consisted of four full time staff and a new location had been secured with the City's new development plans at Nashville's previous convention center on Broadway. In 2015 at a press conference, Mayor Karl Dean announced the City's redevelopment efforts of which NMAAM is a part. Groundbreaking on this site took place on April 17, 2017. Grand opening for members occurred January 18, 2021, on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. The Museum is now open daily to the public and we are welcoming visitors from across the country to experience our exhibitions, programs, and all that we have to offer.


National Museum of African American Music (NMAAM) is a global destination for music lovers of all generations to be engaged, educated, and inspired surrounding the origins of American music.NMAAM will celebrate the more than 50 music genres and subgenres created, influenced, or inspired by African Americans. The stories told by NMAAM are of remarkable, resilient and artistic people who have and continue to create music from Spirituals to Hip-Hop, Classical to Country. NMAAM is revolutionary in programming and includes technological innovations like touch tables, virtual reality, apps, mixing and recording programs inside the museum. Technology enables NMAAM to provide a cost effective, sustainable, interactive, nimble format for bringing exhibitions to life. NMAAM is open to the public as of January 2021 and we anticipate reaching 250,000+ visitors annually at the museum from across the country. Beyond the Museum walls, NMAAM delivers education and community outreach programming to Middle Tennessee. These programs include adult and youth focused events and activities that expose residents and visitors to the inspiration and influence of African American on American music of the past and today.


NMAAM values community partnerships to reach new audiences with programming and exhibitions. We seek to expand our partnerships to continue to diversify our audiences for the Museum and our programs. Fundraising and Development will be an ongoing need to sustain the Museum and our programs. We seek to secure program funds toward our annual budget of approximately $1.5 million to develop and implement public programs and educational opportunities throughout the year. We seek sponsorship partners for our individual programs and events throughout the year. These range between $2,500 and $100,000.

CEO Statement

NMAAM offers a rhythmic entertainment and educational experience like no other. NMAAM is a multi-sensory celebration of the more than 50 music genres and subgenres created, influenced, or inspired by African Americans. NMAAM makes use of the latest technology to bring musical heroes of the past to the present, and transport visitors from all walks of life into the musical future. It is the one place that celebrates the full richness African Americans have had on America's music. The music that unfolds in this place is the soundtrack of the American story. The Museum has a meaningful impact - culturally, educationally and economically; regionally and around the country. NMAAM will provide approximately $10 million in annual economic impact to Middle Tennessee, by delivering interactive music education programs around the country, welcoming multi-cultural visitors from around the world, and employing a business model designed for sustainability.

Board Chair Statement

NMAAM has had a significant impact on our city and communities prior to opening to the public with our 'Museum Without Walls' programs, delivering programming and events to people around Middle Tennessee. With the Museum and programs, NMAAM is connecting audiences of all ages with artists and music that has been influenced and/or created by African Americans. Children are learning about home-made instruments, music and rhythm used by African American during the Civil War and Civil Rights era that has impacted some 50 different American music genres. There is no cultural institution in Tennessee that focuses on the major contributions of African Americans to the American soundtrack. NMAAM is our chance to create a welcoming museum that aims to bridge cultural and generational divides and differences by bringing communities together around music that creates an environment of inclusiveness.

Service Categories

Primary Category: Arts, Culture & Humanities  - Museums 
Secondary Category: Education  - Research Institutions & Public Policy Analysis 
Tertiary Category: Arts, Culture & Humanities  - Music 

Areas Served

The Museum is nationally focused, but also reaches out to regional, state, and local entities/people.