NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) – The National Museum of African American Music is just days away from opening its doors for the community to take an in-depth exploration of African American musical contributions.

More than two decades ago, Nashville community leaders Francis Guess and Dr. T.B. Boyd were inspired with the idea to honor African American music contributions. The concept eventually turned into a national museum that you can see today in Broadway Street's heart.

"They'll get to learn more about more than just hip hop, and it's just more than R&B, and we get to learn more about the culture that sprung from the music," Dr. Marquita Reed-Wright, NMAAM Collections Manager, said.

The 56,000 square feet museum allows guests to take a journey through the timeline of African Americans' musical contributions in past years to the present day. Guests are shown an introductory video inside the amphitheater entitled "Roots" that discusses African Americans' history and their impact in various genres.

"We have some galleries. Our first gallery is wade in the water, which focuses on gospels and spirituals...our next will be crossroads that focuses on the blues," said Wright.

There are more than 1500 artifacts, including clothes from famous artists and several of their instruments, records, and vinyls. Music artists' photos are shown through each gallery showcasing their work and songs. Several genres, including jazz, blues, country, and hip hop, are a part of the exhibits.

"One of the great things about the interactives is that they come with RDF bracelets so when you leave the museum, you're taking a part of the museum with you through the interactive, and some of the interactives will allow you to post on Facebook or Instagram what you've done and share with other people who probably can't make it to the museum," said Wright.

The National Museum of African American Music (NMAAM) will officially open on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Monday, Jan. 18. They will host a socially distant ribbon-cutting ceremony with staff, board members, elected officials, and community leaders. The museum will open to the public the following weekend, on Saturday, Jan. 30, 2021.

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