There is no disputing that the Black community has had a profound impact on the music that defines American culture. From jazz to rock and roll, from hip-hop to the blues, America’s rich musical traditions would not be the same without the enduring contributions of countless talented African-American artists and musicians.
This Black History Month, we are sharing some of the most impactful music museums in the country. Many of these museums are located in historically Black communities, and all of them celebrate the careers of some of the top Black artists in global music history.
The National Jazz Museum in Harlem
New York, NY
First on our list is a small but growing jazz museum in New York’s historic Harlem community. This museum is dedicated to the preservation and celebration of jazz music and its enduring ties to the Harlem area. One of the National Jazz Museum’s strengths is its live programming, which is frequent and free to the public and under the creative direction of Grammy-winners Jon Batiste and Christian McBride. We hope you visit the next time you’re in the Big Apple! Learn more.
Universal Hip Hop Museum
Not far from the National Jazz Museum is the Universal Hip Hop Museum in the historic Bronx, an epicenter of the hip-hop genre. This relatively new museum has already made quite an impact in the New York arts community for its engaging exhibit [R]Evolution of Hip Hop, described as “an immersive journey through Hip Hop History.” Fans of this genre will not want to miss this innovative new museum. Learn more.
The Motown Museum, located in Detroit, is ecstatic to have reopened to visitors this year! Surround yourself with the history of Motown giants like Marvin Gaye, the Supremes, and the Temptations as you take an immersive tour of Hitsville U.S.A. Those unable to visit in person can enjoy their virtual exhibit, the Motortown Revue, online. Learn more.
National Museum of African American Music
Those seeking a multi-genre experience should look no further than the National Museum of African American Music in Nashville, the Music City. According to their mission, the NMAAM is “the only museum dedicated to preserving and celebrating the many music genres created, influenced, and inspired by African Americans.” Visitors should expect lessons in jazz, groove, and the blues in this immersive exhibit complex, located along Nashville’s historic Broadway music corridor. Learn more.
The New Orleans Jazz Museum
New Orleans, LA
The New Orleans Jazz Museum promises that visitors will experience “Jazz in the very city it was born.” Like the National Jazz Museum in Harlem, the New Orleans Jazz Museum explores jazz in all its forms with a special focus on the musical traditions of New Orleans, a historically black community and a vital center of music and culture in the American South. Visitors will enjoy seeing instruments played by New Orleans-born global phenomenons like Louis Armstrong and Fats Domino while enjoying free daily performances from talented jazz musicians. Learn more.
We encourage you to visit these places and the many other incredible music museums that showcase the great impact the Black community has had on the global musical landscape.
We are rapidly approaching the one-year mark of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the latest and most extreme in a series of Russo-Ukrainian conflicts. The past year has seen widespread destruction throughout the country, with over eight million refugees leaving their homes to flee the violence.  This invasion did not appear out of the blue—on the contrary, there is a long history of political and military conflict between the two nations. Among the most recent examples of this is the 2014 invasion of eastern Ukraine and subsequent annexation of Crimea, a widely condemned action that resulted in Russia’s expulsion from the G8.  As with many other military conflicts, one of the most fragile—and most symbolic—elements endangered by violence and looting is art. As material representations of history and identity, works of art ranging from religious objects, paintings, sculptures, and architecture can become rallying symbols for revolutions or desired prizes through which victors can proclaim their ownership of a certain culture.
This brings us to the crucial role that Russia and Ukraine’s shared history plays in the motivation and propaganda surrounding this conflict. Kyivan Rus, which at its peak spanned a considerable part of Eastern Europe, was the largest kingdom by territory between the 11th and 13th centuries. At its heart was the city of Kyiv, which is today the capital of Ukraine. From roughly 882 to 1240 CE, this kingdom produced a significant cultural output and gave rise to several figures still important in the region today. Among these is St. Olga, who functioned as regent of Kyivan Rus during the reign of her son and is now revered with the epithet “Equal to the Apostles.”
Kyivan Rus is, of course, not the only instance in which the territories of modern Ukraine and Russia were conjoined. Beginning in the 18th century, Ukraine was controlled by the Russian Empire and, by 1922, it become part of the USSR. The last century has seen Ukraine face challenges such as the Holodomor, a man-made famine that resulted in the deaths of millions of Ukrainians between 1932 and 1933, and the infamous Chernobyl nuclear disaster, which made a part of northern Ukraine uninhabitable. It was only on December 1st, 1991 that Ukraine declared independence from the USSR.
For Ukraine, Kyiv remains the center of the mighty kingdom that once dominated Eastern Europe. For Russia—or, rather, for several Russian leaders like Vladimir Putin—Kyivan Rus is proof that the Ukrainians are Russian, and thus must be brought back into the fold of Russian leadership.  It is partly with this logic that Putin’s government justified the invasion of Ukraine and the ongoing violence in the region.
At the heart of the use of this history is the presence of artworks originating from Kyivan Rus, whose cultural significance gives their holder a currency through which to claim the past. A recent report from The Art Newspaper investigates this topic, raising concerns about the looting of the Ukrainian cultural patrimony at the hands of invading Russian troops.  The report centers around Kherson, a city on the Black Sea that was invaded at the beginning of the war in 2022. When Ukrainian troops reentered the city in October 2022, the Kherson Regional Art Museum had survived, but its collections were missing. Andrei Malgin, director of the Crimean Simferopol art museum, has stated that he was “instructed to take the exhibits of the Kherson Art Museum for temporary storage and ensure their safety until they are returned to their rightful owner.”  TheArt Newspaper highlights the close ties between Malgin and Putin, as well as Malgin’s vocal support for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The “rightful owner” in the eyes of Russian-controlled Crimea may very well not be a Ukrainian museum, and, as of today, the works have yet to be returned.
The fate of the Kherson Regional Art Museum is sadly similar to many other institutions and collections affected by the war. Around thirty museums throughout Ukraine have been the site of raids and looting under the supervision of Russian curators.  Russia has felt the effects of the feverish need for material propaganda from Ukraine as well. The art historian Zelfira Tregulova was fired from her position as director of the Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow after she had “come under intense criticism from Russia’s hawkish proponents of the war in Ukraine due to the Tretyakov’s alleged resistance to the patriotic fervor that has engulfed the country’s elite.”  She was replaced by the daughter of a senior member of Russia’s Federal Security Service.
On the event of the one-year mark of the invasion, the exhibition “Ukraine: Connected Histories & Vibrant Cultures” will be opening at Tisch Library. It is organized by Prof. Alice I. Sullivan (Department of the History of Art and Architecture) and Anna Kijas (Lilly Music Library), in collaboration with faculty, staff, as well as undergraduate and graduate students at Tufts University, including members of the Ukrainian community on campus. This exhibition features the history and cultural heritage of Kyivan Rus and its function in the conflicts between Russia and Ukraine in the 20th and 21st centuries. Further, it will outline current efforts to study and preserve this rich cultural history that has been threatened and manipulated during the Russo-Ukranian conflicts. The exhibition will open March 6th, with a reception at 5 PM, in the Tisch Main Library Lobby.
The Concord Museum seeks a dynamic and energetic educator to join the museum education team. Museum Educators teach curriculum-based lessons on many historical topics including Native culture, Archaeology, Colonial Life, and the Revolution. Teaching object-based lessons and hands-on activities, educators help students make personal connections to the past. Focusing on grades 2-8, Museum Educators lead school programs mainly in the Museum galleries and classrooms, at sites such as the Old North Bridge in Concord, and occasional in-classroom programs in schools. Educators also help to set-up classroom materials and clean spaces and equipment after programs.
Qualifications: B.A., experience in teaching or leading children in a group setting and a strong interest in American history is desired. Excellent interpersonal skills and the ability to work effectively and collaboratively as a member of a team is crucial. A schedule with the flexibility to teach on weekdays during school hours is necessary. Ability to sit, stand, and walk for extended periods of time and lift and/or move up to 10 pounds. This is a part-time position perfect for graduate students, those with a flexible schedule, retired educators, and those interested in museum education. 3-16 hours per week, $15.50/hour Send a resume and cover letter with the subject line “Museum Educator” to firstname.lastname@example.org