The center, directly located across the street from the Louis Armstrong House Museum at 24-56 107th Street in Corona, is meant to broaden the public’s understanding of Armstrong’s life and legacy.
“The groundbreaking for the Education Center is the next step toward creating a Louis Armstrong campus,” said Louis Armstrong House Museum Executive Director Michael Cogswell. “When completed, we can offer a broad array of public programs to preserve and promote Louis’ remarkable legacy. There is nothing else like it in the jazz world.”
While the museum is the legendary jazz great’s nationally landmarked Queens home, the new education center will feature a 68-seat jazz club, museum store and a state-of-the-art exhibition gallery. The center will also feature materials that are currently housed in the Louis Armstrong Archives at Queens College.
“The Education Center is a gift to Corona, to the Borough of Queens, and to Satchmo fans all over the world,” said Queens College President Felix V. Matos Rodriguez. “We will be thrilled to reciprocate by having students from our jazz studies program present public concerts at the Education Center’s Jazz Room.”
According to Rodriguez, the college’s students conduct research in the museum’s archives in the Rosenthal Library and interns from the Graduate School of Library and Information Sciences work with the material.
The completion of the Education Center is expected to be complete in 2019. The center will also include the home of the late Selma Heraldo, Louis and Lucille Armstrong’s beloved neighbor, who lived next door to the Armstrong House from birth until her death in 2011 at age 87, organizers said. Heraldo bequeathed her home to the museum, which has since received a $1.027 million grant from New York City to renovate the home. Now known as “Selma’s House,” the home will transform into a space for offices, meetings and storage.
“The Louis Armstrong House Museum transformative new Education Center and expanded programming will better serve visitors from around the globe and directly support the very community that Satchmo called home,” said Queens Borough President Melinda Katz.