Museums and monuments are vital in preserving and educating the masses about significant historical moments and cultural shifts, including music.

Throughout music history, Black artists and contributors have been responsible for creating, developing and evolving almost every musical genre. Genres such as jazz, blues, country, gospel, R&B, hip-hop and more were birthed by Black musicians. 

The music and influence of these artists helped shape history and provide the soundtrack to everything from racism and political opposition to social change. Unfortunately, they rarely receive the credit and acknowledgment as their counterparts.

Around the country, Black music museums and monuments are collecting and preserving the history of these artists and their efforts.

These locations carefully curate exhibits of artifacts, documents, recordings, images and personal stories that would otherwise be erased or forgotten. 

These music museums and monuments educate and inspire music lovers, culture enthusiasts and future artists nationwide by giving these artists and their contributions space to be revered.

In honor of Black Music Month, we’ve compiled a list of some of the most impactful museums and monuments that preserve and celebrate the achievements of Black musicians who have made and continue to make an impact.

National Museum of African-American Music - Nashville, Tenn.


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The National Museum of African-American Music is a 56,000-square-foot love letter addressed to the music genres that African Americans created, influenced, and inspired. The museum’s expertly curated and fully immersive collections share the story of the American soundtrack by integrating history and interactive technology. Guests can listen to tracks by their favorite artists and even create beats in the production studios or perform on the green screen along with gospel singer Bobby Jones and The Nashville Super Choir.

Stax Museum of American Soul Music - Memphis, Tenn.


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Since the early 1960s, Stax Records has been the home for Southern soul music. The Memphis, Tennessee, music label was home to some of the genre’s most influential artists, including Otis Redding, Sam & Dave and Issac Hayes. The label’s namesake, Stax Music Academy, is a nonprofit program that teaches the future soul musicians of Memphis through education and exposure.

The Colored Musicians Club & Jazz Museum - Buffalo, N.Y.

The Colored Musicians Club in Buffalo, New York, is the country’s only continuously running, all-Black-owned music venue. Since its charter in 1935, the club has become a safe place for Black musicians and ensembles to practice, have rehearsals, perform and meet. Some of the most famous jazz musicians have graced its stage. The museum is currently under renovation but continues to hold events at the Buffalo History Museum and other venues along the Michigan Street African American Heritage Corridor.

New Orleans Jazz Museum - New Orleans


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Celebrate jazz in the city where it was born! The New Orleans Jazz Museum houses over 25,000 artifacts that chronicle the genre from its start. The museum is in the Old U.S. Mint in the middle of the lively French Quarter, the perfect backdrop to the musical oasis. The museum features exhibits focusing on the foundations of Black music in New Orleans, which came from the gatherings of the enslaved people at Congo Square to the present day.

Trap Music Museum - Atlanta


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Atlanta’s Trap Music Museum was one of the nation’s first museums dedicated to Southern hip-hop and its evolution to the trap subgenre. Opened in 2019 by Grammy-winner T.I. and his business partner, William “Bem” Sparks, the museum features an escape-room style setup with exhibits and artifacts highlighting the best of Southern culture and its associated music. One of the main fixtures is the pink old-school car used in the marketing rollout of Atlanta icon 2 Chainz’s 2017 album Pretty Girls Like Trap Music. 

National Blues Museum - St. Louis


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Blues music has roots in all musical genres, and the National Blues Museum shows visitors how deeply those roots go. Digital and physical exhibits tell the story of every blues genre, from its beginnings in the 1900s to its mainstreaming in the 1980s and current resurgence. Pioneering blues musicians, such as B.B. King, Muddy Waters, Robert Johnson and many others, are highlighted in the museum by their instruments, costumes, unreleased music and other artifacts.

Paisley Park - Chanhassen, Minn.


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Initially built as a private studio and recording hub for the legendary music artist Prince, Paisley Park has been converted into a shrine celebrating the musical genius. The sprawling 55,000-square-foot estate features four recording studios, a rehearsal space, an outdoor basketball court and more. It allows super fans to listen to unreleased music, watch live recordings and view guitars and instruments the artist favored throughout his career.

National Jazz Museum in Harlem - Harlem, New York City, N.Y.


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The National Jazz Museum in Harlem is a vibrant cultural institution dedicated to preserving, promoting and celebrating jazz music. Founded in 1997, the museum aims to foster a greater appreciation and understanding of jazz as a unique and influential American art form. The museum hosts rotating and permanent exhibitions showcasing jazz’s history, diversity and evolution. These exhibits often feature rare photographs, vintage instruments, sheet music, and personal artifacts from legendary jazz musicians. Live performances are the museum’s cornerstone, regularly presenting performances from established and emerging jazz artists.

Cincinnati Black Music Walk of Fame - Cincinnati, Ohio


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The Cincinnati Black Music Walk of Fame was founded and created by Hamilton County Commissioner Alicia Reece. The Walk of Fame opened in 2023, honoring the legacy of Black musicians who have made significant contributions to the music industry, particularly those with connections to Cincinnati. Through digital and interactive exhibits, the outside monument/museum pays tribute to legendary musicians such as Bootsy Collins, James Brown and the Isley Brothers.

Delta Blues Museum - Clarksdale, Miss.


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Clarksdale, Mississippi, is often called the “birthplace of the blues” and is home to the Delta Blues Museum. The museum houses a vast collection of artifacts, including musical instruments, personal items, photographs, and recordings of renowned blues musicians. It also supports annual events such as the Sunflower River Blues Festival and the Juke Joint Festival, attracting blues enthusiasts from all over the world. The museum’s prized possession is the cabin where blues legend Muddy Waters once lived, which has been relocated to the museum’s grounds.

Motown Museum - Detroit


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The Motown Museum, or “Hitsville USA,” is the epicenter of the legendary Motown Records, founded in 1959 and helping to launch the careers of many iconic music artists. It was opened in 1985 under the direction of Esther Gordy Edwards, sister of Motown Records founder Berry Gordy. The museum is in the label’s original headquarters and music recording studio, housing a vast collection of original company artifacts, photographs, ensembles and priceless memorabilia. The facility is a historical and cultural resource dedicated to preserving the history of Motown Records.