The contributions of Black Americans to the country’s most famous musical styles—from jazz and gospel to blues and hip-hop—is immeasurable. These museums, recording studios and other sites honor the legacy of these singers, songwriters and performers.
National Museum of African American Music
This new museum, slated to open in late 2020 in downtown Nashville, showcases more than 50 genres of music created, inspired or influenced by African American culture, from gospel to blues to R&B to hip-hop. Featuring five permanent themed galleries and a 200-seat theater, the museum has more than a thousand artifacts on display and state-of-the-art exhibits that share the stories of African American music makers in Tennessee and beyond.
Stax Museum of American Soul Music
Head to Memphis, Tennessee, to find the famed studio where greats like Otis Redding, Isaac Hayes and the Staple Singers cut records. The museum features interactive exhibits and an exact replica of the legendary Studio A, a converted movie theater that served as Stax’s main recording space.
Rock legend Prince was born and raised in Minnesota, and his famed Paisley Park estate and production complex in the Minneapolis suburb of Chanhassen opened for tours after the singer’s death in 2016. Visitors can walk through the studios where he made some of his best-loved records and see memorabilia from throughout the musical icon’s life and career.
GRAMMY Museum Mississippi
The only GRAMMY Museum outside of Los Angeles can be found in the city of Cleveland in the Mississippi Delta. (Why Cleveland? “Because without Mississippi… there would be no American music,” according to the L.A. museum’s executive director.) Fun, interactive exhibits trace the past, present and future of music. Take a dance lesson with Grammy winner Ne-Yo, write and record your own blues song with Keb’ Mo’ and listen to the countless hits written or performed by native Mississippians.
Visit these other museums that tell the story of Black music:
- American Jazz Museum, Kansas City, Missouri
- National Blues Museum, St. Louis, Missouri
- Delta Blues Museum, Clarksdale, Mississippi