National Museum of African American Music offers six interactive galleries equipped with state-of-the art technology that tells the story of black music, touching on more than 50 genres and styles, including spirituals, blues, jazz, gospel, R&B and hip hop.
- Roots Theater-Immersive Film Experiences
- Wade in the Water-The African American Religious Experience
- A Love Supreme-Harlem Renaissance and the Emergence of Jazz
- The Message-Urban Renewal
- Rivers of Rhythm Pathways-The Evolution of African American Music Traditions
- Crossroads-The Great Migration and the Emergence of Blues
- One Nation under a Groove-Influence of R & B
National Museum of African American Music is dedicated to educating, preserving and celebrating more than 50 music genres and styles that were created, influenced, and inspired by African Americans. The museum’s expertly-curated collections will share the story of the American soundtrack by integrating history and interactive technology to bring the musical heroes of the past into the present.
Using artifacts, objects, memorabilia, clothing and state-of-the-art technology, each of the museum galleries is designed to share a different narrative and a unique perspective on African American music and history, including spirituals, blues, jazz, gospel, R&B, and hip hop. The museum will tell the story of how a distinct group of people used their artistry to impact and change the world.
The tour begins in the Roots Theater where visitors watch an introductory film presentation that gives an overview of west and central African cultures and the institution of slavery.
The Rivers of Rhythm corridor is the central spine of the museum experience, and features touch panel interactives and an animated timeline that links American history with American music history.
The Wade in the Water gallery documents the history and influence of religious music from indigenous African music that survived during slavery, to the formation of African American spirituals and hymns, to the “Golden Age of Gospel” in the 1940s–1960s and its commercial growth.
The Crossroads gallery chronicles the history and influence of the blues, whose humble origins are rooted in the work songs and field hollers sung by sharecroppers and lumber mill workers throughout the post-slavery period in the Deep South and the Mississippi Delta in the 19th century. As African Americans migrated from the rural South to urban cities in the North, they took the blues and other musical and cultural traditions with them.
The Love Supreme gallery begins with the survival of African indigenous musical traditions in Congo Square in New Orleans and explores their influence on a new form of music emerging from the city in the 1900s that became known as “jazz.”
The One Nation Under A Groove gallery documents the history and influence of rhythm and blues, or R&B, which emerged in the years following the end of World War II. A blend of gospel, jazz and blues, R&B has fueled the development of American music for decades, spawning new musical forms such as soul, funk, disco, house, techno and hip-hop.