This column is by Tommy Barton, retired editorial page editor of the Savannah Morning News.
NASHVILLE – This town’s reputation as Music City USA has been freshly burnished by the recent opening of the National Museum of African American Music, an attraction that all music lovers should find fun, informative and uplifting.
The 56,000-square-foot museum, located in the heart of downtown, contains more than 1,500 artifacts, objects, memorabilia and clothing from Black artists. But this is not your grandpa’s museum where you look but don’t touch – this is a hands-on attraction where you handpick music for your headphones, write your own blues song, perform your own jazz tune, sing in a gospel choir, bust a move on a dance floor, and produce your own hip-hop beat (for what it’s worth, my blues song was about a poor sharecropper who got jilted by his woman at a dusty Mississippi train station.)
If I can do it anyone can.
According to a museum news release, this is the only museum in the nation dedicated to preserving and celebrating the many music genres created, influenced, and inspired by African Americans. Many of the musical roots are traced to hymns of slaves in the 17th and 18th centuries. Many white artists picked up on this groove and added their own stylistic touches to make it their own.
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