Louis Armstrong House Museum Breaks Ground on New $23 Million Education Center

— Facility to Include State-of-the-Art Exhibition Gallery, 68-Seat Jazz Club, Museum Store, and the Louis Armstrong Archives, Currently Housed at Queens College —

Queens, NY, July 17, 2017—A ground-breaking ceremony for the new 14,000-square-foot Louis Armstrong House Museum Education Center took place today across the street from the museum—the legendary jazz great’s nationally landmarked Queens home—which is located at 34-56 107th Street in Corona. Joining Louis Armstrong House Museum Executive Director Michael Cogswell were Queens College President Félix V. Matos Rodríguez, Queens Borough President Melinda Katz, New York State Assembly Member Jeffrion Aubry, New York City Council Member Julissa Ferreras-Copeland, and New York City Department of Cultural Affairs Commissioner Tom Finkelpearl.

The children’s choir from Our Lady of Sorrows’ Academy Summer Program performed the Armstrong classic, “What a Wonderful World.” A reception followed in the Armstrong House’s Japanese-inspired garden.

The new facility will broaden the public’s understanding of Armstrong’s life and legacy and complement the visitor experience with a state-of-the-art exhibition gallery, 68-seat jazz club, and museum store. The center will also house the materials in the Louis Armstrong Archives—currently housed at Queens College, which administers the museum through a constituency with its Kupferberg Center for the Arts—in a cutting-edge second-floor archival center.

“We are thrilled to reach this important milepost. The groundbreaking for the Education Center is the next step toward creating a Louis Armstrong campus. When completed, we can offer a broad array of public programs to preserve and promote Louis’s remarkable legacy. There is nothing else like it in the jazz world,” said Cogswell.

“The Education Center is a gift to Corona, to the Borough of Queens, and to Satchmo fans all over the world,” said Queens College President Félix V. Matos Rodríguez. “It was brought about by many offices, and we are profoundly grateful to all of them—the office of the governor and the NYS legislature, the Mayor/NYC Department of Cultural Affairs, the Borough President of Queens, and the City Council, along with a federal planning grant. Queens College has been a primary beneficiary of its association with the Louis Armstrong House Museum for many years. We applaud the efforts of Michael Cogswell, his staff, the Louis Armstrong House Museum Board of Directors, and the Louis Armstrong Educational Foundation. Our students conduct research in the museum’s archives—housed, until the Education Center is complete, in our Rosenthal Library—and interns from our Graduate School of Library and Information Sciences work with this material. Armstrong scholar Ricky Riccardi, director of the museum’s research collections, teaches a popular graduate seminar at the Aaron Copland School of Music at Queens College, and Michael lectures on campus. We will be thrilled to reciprocate by having students from our jazz studies program present public concerts at the Education Center’s Jazz Room.”

“The Louis Armstrong House Museum’s transformative new Education Center and expanded programming will better serve visitors from around the globe and directly support the very community that Satchmo called home,” said Queens Borough President Melinda Katz.

The Center is designed by New York City-based Caples Jefferson Architects, a recipient of numerous commissions and awards, including AIA New York State Firm of the Year. When completed in 2019, the project design aims to achieve a LEED Gold rating.

The campus will also include the home of the late Selma Heraldo—Louis and Lucille Armstrong’s beloved neighbor—who lived next door to the Armstrong House from birth until her death in 2011 at age 87. Heraldo bequeathed her home to the museum, which has since received a $1.027 million grant from New York City to renovate “Selma’s House”—as it will always be called—for offices, meetings, and storage.

About the Louis Armstrong House Museum
In 1943, the great musician Louis Armstrong and his wife Lucille (a Cotton Club dancer) purchased a modest house on 107th Street in Corona, Queens. Despite their wealth and celebrity, they lived there for the rest of their lives. Today the perfectly preserved house is a National Historic Landmark and a New York City Landmark which hosts visitors from all over the world. Located at 34-56 107th Street, it is open Tuesday through Friday, from 10 am to 5 pm, and on Saturday and Sunday, from 12 to 5 pm.

The exhibit “Fifty Years of What a Wonderful World” is on display at the museum now through October and is free with museum admission. Street parking is available in the neighborhood. The museum is accessible via the 7 train from the 103rd Street-Corona Plaza stop.

Thanks to the vision and funding of the Louis Armstrong Educational Foundation, the Louis Armstrong House Museum welcomes visitors from all over the world, six days a week, 52 weeks a year. The Louis Armstrong House Museum is a member of the American Alliance of Museums, Association of African American Museums, Museums Council of New York City, New York State Museums Association, National Trust for Historic Preservation, NYC & Co., and the Queens Tourism Council. The museum is a constituent of Kupferberg Center for the Arts at Queens College, CUNY.

For more about Queens college, visit http://www.qc.cuny.edu/Pages/home.aspx

Maria Matteo
Office of Communications
Assistant Director, News Services