Photo: Caples and Jefferson Architects
The legacy of Louis Armstrong, America’s first Black popular music icon, lives on at the Louis Armstrong House Museum in Corona, Queens. The state-of-the-art center and archive is the world's largest for a jazz musician.
Louis Armstrong’s legacy will be fostered in Here to Stay, a exhibition curated by Jason Moran that looks at Armstrong’s five-decade career as an innovative musician, rigorous archivist, consummate collaborator and community builder.
Photos: Dominick Totino
Grounded in the new building design by Caples Jefferson Architects, the new Center is also a permanent home for the 60,000-piece Louis Armstrong Archive and a 75-seat venue offering performances, lectures, films, and educational experiences.
“Louis Armstrong is the greatest of all American virtuosos,” states Wynton Marsalis, President of the Louis Armstrong Educational Foundation and Managing and Artistic Director of Jazz at Lincoln Center. “With his trumpet and voice, Armstrong redefined what it meant to be modern by testifying to the range and depth of humanity from the vantage point of the bottom social strata in post-Reconstruction America. Louis Armstrong’s trumpet is the sound of freedom and with it, he left the world so much richer than how he found it.”
The opening of the Center has spurred the creation of new programming. The Museum just announced the upcoming season of its groundbreaking Armstrong Now, which will feature the creation and debut of new works by Esperanza Spalding, Amyra León and Antonio Brown.
An outreach program to local schools was also recently launched, providing trumpet lessons made possible by a donation of musical instruments from Ken Karnofsky, a descendant of the same family who helped Armstrong buy his first instrument.
The Center and the historic house are open to the public Thursdays through Saturdays. Tickets can be purchased on the Museum’s website. Advance purchase is highly recommended as tours of the Center and the historic house have limited capacity. Authors, researchers and other scholars can visit the Armstrong archives by advance appointment. For ticketing and more information about the new Center, visit www.louisarmstronghouse.org.