Magazine Online    The Authority On African-American Conventions, Incentives, & Leisure Travel
Industry Briefs

Coming to the National Museum of African American Music in 2024

The National Museum of African American Music (NMAAM)  has received a multi-year grant of  $2,500,000 from  Lilly Endowment Inc . through its Religion and Cultural Institutions Initiative

The museum will use the funding to curate the first exhibit of its kind: a showcase of rare, never displayed articles and music of the world-renowned Fisk Jubilee Singers®. Known as the first ambassadors of the Music City, the Jubilee Singers are recognized for their significant contributions to preserving African American spirituals. For 137 years, the ensemble has performed around the world, sharing America's rich cultural heritage.

NMAAM's vision is to officially portray their years of phenomenal talent in the home where legends live forever in 2024.  For more information on the exhibit, learn more at /FiskJubileeSingers.

We are very excited about this amazing exhibit and the partnership with NMAAM. There is no doubt, this exhibit will introduce the unprecedented history and impact of the Fisk Jubilee Singers® to new audiences across the country. We are grateful to both NMAAM and Lilly Endowment for helping to bring this impressive exhibit to life, said Fisk University Interim President Frank Sims. 

NMAAM is one of 16 organizations from across the United States receiving grants from Lilly Endowment through the latest round of its initiative, which is designed to help improve the public understanding of religion. Organizations receiving funding include fine arts museums, historical societies and history museums, libraries, historic sites, museums dedicated to serving children and families and museums dedicated to particular geographic locations and cultures.

This is the second round of grants Lilly Endowment has made to organizations to develop exhibitions and education programs that fairly and accurately portray the role of religion in the U.S. and around the world. The Religion and Cultural Institutions Initiative began in 2019 with an initial group of 18 grants. Through both rounds of grants Lilly Endowment has made a total of more than $86 million in grants.

The relationship between Fisk University and NMAAM is an important one.  We share a mission of delivering excellence in education and the importance of the Fisk Jubilee Singers ®   to Nashville, the legacy of Historically Black Colleges and Universities, and the sharing of black culture and music around the world brings us together.  As a part of the call to create our museum, a promise was made that we would tell this story and share its significance with the world.  NMAAM is grateful for the support of the Lilly Endowment which will permit us to keep that promise.  We look forward to partnering with the University and with religious and educational institutions throughout the southeast to shine a light on this important piece of American culture, said H. Beecher Hicks, President & CEO of the National Museum of African American Music


The Fisk Jubilee Singers® are vocal artists and students at Fisk University in Nashville, TN., who sing and travel worldwide. The original Fisk Jubilee Singers introduced 'slave songs' to the world in 1871 and were instrumental in preserving this unique American musical tradition known today as Negro spirituals. They broke racial barriers in the US and abroad in the late 19th century and entertained Kings and Queens in Europe. At the same time, they raised money in support of their beloved school. In 1999, the ensemble was featured in Jubilee Singers: Sacrifice and Glory, a PBS award-winning television documentary series, produced by WGBH/Boston. In July 2007, the Fisk Jubilee Singers went on a sacred journey to Ghana at the invitation of the U.S. Embassy. It was a history-making event, as the ensemble traveled to Ghana for the first time and joined in the celebration of the nation's Golden Jubilee, the 50th independence anniversary. In 2008, the ensemble was selected to receive the 2008 National Medal of Arts, the nation's highest honor for artists and patrons of the arts. The award was presented by President George W. Bush and first lady Laura Bush, during a ceremony at the White House. The Fisk Jubilee Singers ® continue the tradition of singing the Negro spiritual around the world. This allows the ensemble to share this rich culture globally, while preserving this unique music.


NMAAM is the only museum dedicated to preserving and celebrating the many music genres created, influenced, and inspired by African Americans. The museum's expertly curated collections share the story of the American soundtrack by integrating history and interactive technology to bring the musical heroes of the past into the present. The National Museum of African American Music is the premier global destination for music lovers of all generations and inspires, educates, and transforms your appreciation of American music. NMAAM's mission is to educate the world, preserve the legacy, and celebrate the central role African Americans play in creating the American soundtrack. NMAAM was born out of a proposal from the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce in 2002, as a way to celebrate and preserve African Americans' influence on music and provide residents and visitors with diverse cultural offerings. The National Museum of African American Music broke ground in early 2017 and officially opened in 2021. Since its opening, NMAAM has welcomed guests from across the U.S. and is one of Music City's top must-see tourist destinations.


Lilly Endowment Inc. is an Indianapolis-based private philanthropic foundation created in 1937 by J.K. Lilly, Sr. and his sons Eli and J.K. Jr. through gifts of stock in their pharmaceutical business, Eli Lilly and Company. Although the gifts of stock remain a financial bedrock of the Endowment, it is a separate entity from the company, with a distinct governing board, staff and location. In keeping with the founder's wishes, the Endowment supports the causes of community development, education and religion and maintains a special commitment to its founders' hometown, Indianapolis, and home state, Indiana. A primary aim of its grantmaking in religion is to deepen the religious lives of Christians, principally by supporting efforts that enhance congregational vitality and strengthen the leadership of Christian communities. The Endowment values the broad diversity of Christian traditions and endeavors to support them in a wide variety of contexts. The Endowment also seeks to foster public understanding about religion by encouraging fair, accurate and balanced portrayals of the positive and negative effects of religion on the world and lifting up the contributions that people of all faiths make to our greater civic well-being.