Hidden New York: Louis Armstrong’s home becomes a museum

Posted at 8:00 AM, May 24, 2019
and last updated 2020-01-10 03:38:57-05

The king of jazz, Louis Armstrong, made his home in Corona, Queens. He and his wife, Lucille, lived on 107th St for years and years.

The famous trumpeter moved in back when he was 42 years old, leaving New Orleans, to settle in New York.

The Armstrongs lived in their home until 1983 and left it largely intact.

Now the home is a museum, filled to the brim with artifacts from his life and his travels. Even his colorful African robes hang in the bathroom.

Best of all, the room where he wrote and practiced, is still there. You can walk right into that den.

So how do you turn a home into a museum?

Nothing is blocked off, so aren’t museum employees afraid of visitors touching artifacts?

Aiyonna Aviles, the Museum Fellow for the Louis Armstrong House Museum & Archives said guests are usually mindful.

“We ask people to be mindful, stay on the runners that are on the ground, and try not to touch anything.  People are pretty mindful this is historic.”

Louis won a Grammy for “Hello, Dolly” but he was most proud of “What a Wonderful World.”

He always had a huge smile on his face when he sang it.  “Huge smile,” agreed Aviles.  “Huge, huge smile.  People notice that about him.  He was always so happy, that’s his spirit.”

Visitors to the house-turned-museum can hear conversations Louie had with his friends and family throughout his career.  He made it a point to record himself.

You can press special buttons throughout the house to hear him.

The museum does a terrific job bringing his life alive.

You can also wander the garden outside.

Louis said he constantly drew inspiration from the grounds and his time in Corona.

The Louis Armstrong House Museum is located at 34-56 107th Street in Corona.

For more information on the Louis Armstrong House Museum, click here.