As we go through our day to day lives in Manhattan and think about all of the events and happenings around us, we can forget to look off the island and towards the boroughs. There is a ton to do and maybe more importantly, a lot of history to consider. One of the places that reminds us of a piece of our great history is the Louis Armstrong House Museum.
Louis Armstrong was one of the most recognizable entertainers in the world when he chose the working-class neighborhood of Corona, Queens to be his home in 1943. The museum preserves Louis and Lucille’s home, now a historic site and world-class museum. They also provide access to Mr. Armstrong’s extensive archives, develop programs for the public that educate and inspire and host performances with multi-disciplinary artists from around the world. It’s an iconic home, past and present and in some cases a place to learn about the future.
The 20th century produced no shortage of legendary instrumentalists and vocalists but Louis Armstrong is the only figure who completely changed the way people played music on their instruments and he completely changed the way people sang. Perfecting the concept of the improvised solo, popularizing the use of scat singing, defining the concept of swing–those are just some of the ways Louis Armstrong changed jazz, and American popular music–during his lifetime.
Louis Armstrong—the world’s most famous jazz musician—was an international celebrity who could have lived anywhere. Yet in 1943, he and his wife, Lucille, settled in a modest house in Corona, Queens, where they lived for the remainder of their lives. No one has lived in the house since the Armstrongs, and the house and its furnishings remain very much as they were during Louis and Lucille’s lifetime. Today, the Louis Armstrong House Museum & Archives is open to the public, offering guided tours of Louis’s longtime home. On the tour, audio clips from Louis’s homemade recordings are played, and visitors hear Louis practicing his trumpet, listening to music, or talking with his friends. Visitors also get to enjoy an exhibit on Louis’s life and legacy, and the Armstrongs’ beautiful Japanese-inspired garden.
It’s a special place and there’s no place like home.
For more information, visit louisarmstronghouse.org