January 18, 2012 | Queens College
FLUSHING, NY, January 16, 2012 – February, Black History Month, is coming up, an ideal time to visit the Louis Armstrong House Museum, home of the founding father of jazz. And as a special Black History Month gift, the Broadway show Stick Fly produced by Alicia Keys will provide discount ticket coupons to our visitors to see the show.
Led by a trained docent, the 40-minute tour is like a personal session with Satchmo himself, as visitors walk through his fully preserved residence, look at his original furnishings, and listen to rare recordings of him playing trumpet or talking with friends. The modest house provides the ideal backdrop for learning about the improbable life of Louis Armstrong, who transcended stark poverty—his grandparents were slaves—to become an American icon and international superstar.
The first African American to receive featured billing in a major Hollywood motion picture, Armstrong co-starred in Pennies from Heaven with Bing Crosby in 1936. The next year, when he took over the Fleischmann’s Yeast Show from Rudy Vallee for seven weeks, he became the first African American to host a nationally sponsored radio variety show. Satchmo continued to break new cultural ground. He was the first African-American entertainer to have his contract stipulate that he would not play at any hotel where he couldn’t stay. From 1947 until the end of his career, he appeared exclusively with integrated bands; after New Orleans outlawed mixed-race ensembles, he avoided his hometown for a decade.
The first jazz musician to be featured on the cover of Time magazine (1949), he won a GRAMMY in 1965, was featured on the cover of Life Magazine in 1966, and received a GRAMMY Lifetime Achievement Award in 1972, the year after he died. Armstrong was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990 and was named one of Life Magazine’s “100 Top Entertainers of the 20th Century” in 1999. His “Hot Five and Hot Seven” recordings (1925-1928) were designated for preservation by the National Recording Registry at the Library of Congress in 2003.
Louis Armstrong House Museum Exhibition
The Louis Armstrong House Museum, which is administered by Queens College, holds seven collections of photographs, sound recordings, letters, manuscripts, instruments and artifacts, making it the largest publicly held archival collection in the world devoted to a jazz musician. Although Armstrong traveled 300 days a year, he called this modest house in Corona his home.
Planning Your Visit
The Louis Armstrong House Museum is located at 34-56 107th Avenue in Corona, Queens. The museum is open Tuesday – Friday from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm and Saturday/Sunday from 12:00 noon to 5:00 pm. Guided 40-minute house tours start every hour on the hour. The last tour of the day leaves at 4:00 pm. The gift shop, exhibit area and garden can be explored before or after the tour. No reservations are necessary for individuals, but groups of 8 or more should call ahead to reserve at 718.478.8274.
Parking is available within the neighborhood and the museum is accessible by subway via the 7 train.
Admission is $10.00, $7.00 for seniors, students and children and free for LAHM members and children under 4. Groups with reservations enjoy a discount on admission. The Louis Armstrong House Museum is closed on all Mondays and the following holidays: Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. It is always open on the 4th of July, the date when Armstrong celebrated his birthday.
School groups are encouraged to visit. Reservations can be made at www.LouisArmstrongHouse.org.
Assistant Director of News Services