Vanderbilt University Establishes Partnership With the National Museum of African American Music

Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, has partnered with the National Museum of African American Music to enrich educational and research opportunities around the musical legacy of African American composers, performers, and supporters and their impact on American culture and musical history. The museum is scheduled to open in downtown Nashville in early 2020.

As a part of this new agreement, Vanderbilt will pledge $2 million in contributions and direct financial support to the museum. These funds will expand the museum’s archival collection, contribute to innovative programming, support the completion of the facility, and more.

“We are proud to partner with the National Museum of African American Music in building global awareness of the musical legacy and impact of African American composers, performers and supporters,” said Nicholas Zeppos, chancellor of Vanderbilt University. “This museum will expand the opportunities of our Vanderbilt community, Middle Tennesseans, and visitors from around the world to engage in learning and discovery.”

The museum will collaborate with Vanderbilt’s Jean and Alexander Heard Libraries to support an expanded collection of books, scores, sound recordings, and material objects related to African American music. The collection will be available for loan, display, and study at the museum and the Vanderbilt campus.

Additionally, Vanderbilt and the museum will host speaker events that will include prominent guest lecturers, panel discussions, and performances. The partners will also create future faculty and student research projects designed around museum holdings and ongoing collaborations.

“With our dedication to expanding the horizons of musical education, I am excited for the possibilities of this partnership to elevate the cultural and intellectual life of our campus, community and region,” said Mark Wait, the Martha Rivers Ingram Dean of the Blair School of Music and professor of music. “A museum focused on African American music will offer many opportunities for student and faculty engagement and will further elevate Nashville’s profile as a center for all genres of music.”


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