Armstrong House Voted a $150,000 Preservation Grant

Apparently, a lot of folks love—and vote for—Louis. Enough so that the Partners in Preservation Program has awarded a $150,000 grant to the Louis Armstrong House Museum to help preserve the jazz giant’s residence in Corona. The museum is administered by Queens College.

The LAHM was one of the top vote-getters among 40 culturally significant sites in New York City competing for $3 million in funding awarded last June by Partners in Preservation, a program in which American Express, in partnership with the National Trust for Historic Preservation, awards grants to historic places.

“On July 4, 1971, Louis Armstrong celebrated his 71st birthday in the beautiful garden of his Corona home. Thanks to this grant from the Partners in Preservation Program, Louis’s beloved garden patio can now be perfectly restored,” says LAHM Director Michael Cogswell. “Visitors from all over the world will be able to fully enjoy Louis Armstrong’s garden, just as if they had dropped by to visit Louis and Lucille.”

LAHM’s success, despite limited staff and resources, was attributable to a highly successful get-out-the-vote effort that tapped into a variety of constituencies, ranging from folks in the neighborhood to jazz fans around the world, explains Jennifer Walden (Director of Marketing, LAHM). “Our whole campaign was driven by social media,” she says. “The voting was strictly online from the Partners in Preservation site; there were links through Twitter, through Facebook, through the LAHM website to get people to vote.”

The effort kicked off on April 26 with a flash mob at the Metropolitan Museum of Art that was videoed and tweeted, followed the weekend of May 5-6 with an open house at the museum. “We had close to a thousand people come to the museum. It was Louis Armstrong House Museum on steroids that one weekend,” says Walden.

The vote-getting effort was also helped by a raffle in which voters could win a trip to Louis’s birthplace, thanks to donations of airfare and lodging Walden solicited from JetBlue and a New Orleans hotel.

Jazz at Lincoln Center also was a big supporter, tweeting and offering Facebook support. But one of the major vote drivers, Walden notes, was Universal Music’s Louis Armstrong Facebook page. “They own the rights to Louis’s music and they have some insane number of followers. They signed on and supported us. So people were voting for LAHM around the world.”

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Contact: Phyllis Cohen Stevens
Deputy Director of News Services

Maria Matteo
Assistant Director of News Services