Museums, like people, uphold their mission by the way they present what they have to offer. Whether it be mounting specific works that increase attendance or works that have greater material or monetary value, curators working in any museum know what visitors want to see. In result, these museums become destination spots, drawing large crowds from around the world.
By examination, the Louis Armstrong House Museum is without a doubt a destination museum. Built to preserve, present, and promote Armstrong, the museum acts as a liaison between Armstrong and the people who lived, and still live, with his music and legacy.
In Queens, the museum assumes a different relationship with other New York City museums considering its proximity to the center of the city. But also, the growing audience of people who visit the museum are people who’ve established a liking to Armstrong or jazz music. With those two factors—Armstrong and jazz music—being the significant reasons for visitor attendance, for the last fourteen years folks old and young have arrived at his door steps.
Knowing that it’s a place people have planned to visit; I’ve realized it’s important to capitalize on how their time spent in the exhibitions and in the house improves their overall experience. A critical part of the house, I’ve found that the tours for me are more than often just conversations with people who have a deep interest in Armstrong.
For those people, whose journey begins with Louis, it’s always refreshing to see it come to a pause when they visit the house. Always, they ask if this is where he really lived. Excited, I always reply and move forward with letting them know that Louis loved not only this home, but also the neighborhood of Corona, Queens.
Lastly, with the holidays happening, the chance encounters that I’ve had with people bring me more joy than anything. It’s Louis, the holiday, and me.