Opened on October 15, 2003, the museum’s mission is to sustain and promotes the cultural, historical, and humanitarian legacy of Louis Daniel Armstrong, nicknamed Satchmo. It’s owned by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs and administered by Queens College. The museum offers guided tours that showcase not only his private home, left almost exactly as it was when the famed jazz trumpeter lived there, but also the collections, programs and exhibits to educate and inspire people of all ages, origins, and locations.
HistoryDespite his career success, Louis remained a humble man and lived a simple life in a working-class neighbourhood in Corona, Queens, which was also known as the Battlefield. He finally settled there with his fourth wife, Lucille in 1943, after spending many years on the road and playing more than 300 gigs a year.
The House TourToday, Louis’ home is a museum, where guests are invited to take a better look at his man cave or office, the kitchen, living room, mirrored bathroom, and bedroom. You can travel there by yourself without an appointment and just pay an admission fee of up to $10 per visit, or visit as part of a group tour which requires an advance reservation. Either way, the Museum is shown only through guided 40-minute historic house tours that start every hour on the hour, with the last tour of the day starting at 4pm. Note that the entire ground floor of the Museum is wheelchair-accessible, but should even that not solve the problem then there’s a virtual tour available as well. Museum collections are accessible to the public as well, featuring The Satchmo Collection with Armstrong-related materials donated to the Museum by Armstrong friends, fans and collectors. The museum exhibits also include events like Satchmo’s Stuff, which showcases the best and most interesting artefacts, including the gold-plated trumpet; and 50 years of What a Wonderful World, featuring rare photographs and sound recordings tell the story of the making of this iconic recording.
The GardenThe Museum in the northern part of Queens also has a beautiful Japanese-inspired garden. And just like the house, it’s open to the public through various entertainment programmes and special exhibitions. For instance, during the summer you can see performances by top jazz bands, and once a year, you can also celebrate Louis’ birthday with a free birthday cake, should you manage to get the tickets in advance as they sell out quickly.
Around the AreaThe Museum can be accessed by the 7 train to 103 St-Corona Plaza, or by car via Long Island Expressway or RFK Bridge. When visiting the Museum, consider other nearby attractions for the day. These include the largest park in Queens, Flushing Meadows Corona Park, which also features the tennis centre that hosts the US Open, as well as The New York Hall of Science, Queens Zoo, museums and more. If travelling back to Manhattan or the rest of the city is not an option, then there are a few recommended hotels to choose from. This includes SpringHill Suites New York LaGuardia Airport, and Best Western Plus LaGuardia Airport Hotel Queens.
Visiting Louis Armstrong House Museum
Location: 34-56 107th Street in Corona, Queens, NY, 11368
Click here to visit Louis Armstrong House Museum official website.
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