BY EMMA MILLER
Corona’s Louis Armstrong House Museum is working on digitizing their entire collection so that anyone can search through photographs, videos and audio recordings on the museum’s website.
Deluxe Media Recall, a media production provider, is digitizing the artifacts which include never-before-seen photos, letters, sheet music and more. The digitization project will make the collections easier to search and access. The museum hopes to finish the project this year.
Some highlights from the collections include scrapbooks that date back to the 1920s and never-before-seen videos, including the ceremony at Queens College in 1987 which celebrated the city’s acquisition of the Armstrong House that featured a concert by Dizzy Gillespie, Jon Faddis, Dexter Gordon and others.
Photographs taken by Jack Bradley, Armstrong’s photographer and friend, will finally be available to the public through this digitization project. The museum’s collection contains many other photos, including ones of Armstrong backstage, at home, in the studio and in concert taken by his friend Paul Studer.
The collection also features 200 exclusive pictures that were sold to a man who lost them, only to later find them again and donate them to the museum.
The museum is focusing on digitizing photographs of Armstrong at home in preparation for their annual gala in November. The theme for this year’s gala is the 75th anniversary of Louis Armstrong moving into his Corona home at 34-56 107th St.
Andreas Meyer, a Grammy Award-winning engineer, has helped the museum digitize their audio collection of reel-to-reel tapes, acetate discs and cassette tapes. Soon never before heard recordings of concerts, interviews and spoken word performances will be available through the museum’s website.
The house museum received a grant from Robert F. Smith’s Fund II Foundation in 2016 for $2.7 million. With this money, they were able to fund the digitization project as well as start the museum’s first fellowship. The fellowship program is for African-American history majors who want to learn more about working for a museum.
The Louis Armstrong House Museum opened on Oct. 15, 2003. According to their website, their mission is to “educate and inspire people of all ages, origins and locations.” The house is almost the same as it was when the Armstrongs lived there with a few necessary renovations.
The museum is owned by the New York Department of Cultural Affairs and run by the Queens College.