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Louis Armstrong House in New York hires first curator

October 02, 2012|By Chris Barton
  • Louis Armstrong is seen in 1956.
Louis Armstrong is seen in 1956. (Bob Willoughby )

The Louis Armstrong House and Museum took a step toward further raising its profile by hiring its first curator in David L. Reese.

A humble home on 107th Street in Queens, the house was first purchased by the jazz great and his wife when they were newlyweds in 1943, and it was where he died on July 6, 1971. The house was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1976, and it was given to the city of New York in 1986 by the Louis Armstrong Educational Foundation after his widow, Lucile, died in 1983. 

The house was declared a New York City landmark in 1988, and it has been open daily for guided tours since 2003, when it was reborn as a museum. Plans for a new visitors center constructed across the street from the house have been explored.

Reese comes to the job having served as resident director of George Mason's home in Virginia and the New York City mayor's official residence, Gracie Mansion.

Armstrong's legacy was in the news earlier this year with the Smithsonian Folkways release of a recording featuring a rare concert with the bandleader recorded only five months before his death. A box set of Armstrong's recordings was also recommended by Elvis Costello late last year as an alternative to the singer-songwriter's own collection, which featured a price point that Costello referred to as "either a misprint or a satire."


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Twitter: @chrisbarton

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