When I began this fellowship, I would have never thought I’d be able to easily give a tour to a group of people, let alone one person, and do it with such ease. Despite having a speech impediment and the tendency to get nervous, I’ve given tours to so many people at the house and somehow they end up appreciating our time in the home.
During the tour, I laugh a lot and ask the visitors about what brought them to LAHM because a lot of these people share something with Louis. It’s another way of being able to claim space in a neighborhood and home they knew not too much about before their visit. It’s those same people who are more than thankful after the tour for being able to not only experience the home, but also experience it with Louis and Lucille. Having those recordings of Louis and Lucille add another layer to that home, and it’s something about their lived experience that makes people want to keep on coming back.
And in more ways than many, the in-between dialogue that I have on any given tour has been a constant push for me to keep pursuing a career as a museum professional in curatorial studies. Like anyone who’s curious – you ask questions, and visitors to the house do just that and ask a great deal of questions about why I’m here in New York at the Louis Armstrong House Museum.
Simply put, I say, “I’m a practicing curator and this fellowship is another tier of the practice.” Stated before, I just began giving tours, but I’ve now been tasked with developing and implementing my own tour for the home, and it hasn’t been the easiest process in the world. Between structuring the tour, deciding on language, and researching for clarity, I’ve been more concerned about getting it all right and making sure an audience understands what we’re saying.
It’s nothing like curating, it’s completely different and I’m teaching myself to like it.
Both Sarah and Adriana have been of great assistance, listening and advising. Each have been willing to give their input, whether it’s Sarah assisting with pulling documents or Adriana whose experience with visitors help me better guide what I want to write.
As the following weeks begin to unfold, I look forward to everything that will come my way. This year here at the museum, intertwined with being in the museum capital, will surely teach be a lot about myself and what I expect to take from this fellowship to be a better professional.