Louis Armstrong House Museum
Corona, NY | 3,750 SF | 2003
Louis Armstrong was one of the most recognizable entertainers in the world when he chose the working-class neighborhood of Corona, Queens to be his home in 1943. Our restoration of the Louis Armstrong House transformed a modest, private dwelling into a house museum that is a popular destination along New York’s famous “Jazz Trail.” This project cleverly transformed the home, including an exhibit area and visitor services, while retaining and restoring the unique character of the house.
We restored the garden and removed the third floor that had been added in the late 1970s, returning the house and grounds to the form present during Armstrong’s lifetime. We also converted the garage into a visitors’ center and museum shop, created an exhibit space in the basement, and also constructed an accessible restroom.
In addition to what are rather common restoration techniques, the age and characteristics of the house required several unusual efforts. We incorporated invisible speakers, playing recordings made by Armstrong of daily life in the house, in several rooms to add a unique interpretative experience. We restored the brick exterior as well as everyday 20th century materials such as laminates, linoleum, and the electric-blue enameled kitchen cabinets to their original condition, and repaired and conserved furniture pieces and fabrics. Our team also oversaw the reproduction of wallpaper and fabrics to match the originals.
Excellence in Historic Preservation Award, Preservation League of New York State, 2004