Louis Armstrong House Gets Curator
BY MEGAN MONTALVO
|David Reese has been named the first curator of the Louis Armstrong House Museum in Corona.
For David Reese it truly is “What a Wonderful World.”
Last week, the former curator of Gracie Mansion and resident director of Gunston Hall, joined Louis Armstrong House Museum as its first curator.
Though he is no stranger to the art world, Reese said his new position at LAHM is one that he finds truly exciting, as he had always been a listener of Armstrong’s music.
“I am honored to be appointed curator of the historic home of one of America’s greatest musicians, and thrilled to have a new role in the cultural life of New York City,” Reese said.
With a background in architectural history, Reese will assume responsibility for the historic site’s interpretation, operation and preservation in his newly-formed role.
In his previous work, Reese served as museum director of Mount Vernon Hotel Museum and Gardens, curator of Gracie Mansion and chief officer of the Gracie Mansion Conservancy and resident director of Gunston Hall, the historic home of George Mason.
In addition to his in-field work, Reese also authored “American Beaux Arts, 1870-1926” from “The Elements of Style, a Practical Encyclopedia of Interior Architectural Detail,” which was published in New York and London.
At LAHM, Reese will oversee three capital projects including a Partners In Preservation project to restore Louis’s Garden.
“Louis lived an amazing life,” Reese said. “I had always been a fan of his, but now, I get to really learn about him in such a special way.”
From the portrait of Louis painted by Tony Bennett to a golden trumpet that was gifted to Louis by King George V of England, everything within LAHM still embodies the life of the late Armstrong to this day, Reese said.
“In similar museums, sometimes we have to question if an item is an original piece. When it comes to Louis’ house, there is no question,” Reese said. “I have never seen such a delicious example of original pieces. Everything is still exactly as it was when Louis lived here.”
Within his first week, Reese has already had the opportunity to host several prominent visitors, including the First Ladies of Croatia and Austria.
While Reese is still transitioning into his new role, the LAHM executive team said they are looking forward to using his experience to support its institutional mission of preserving and promoting the cultural legacy of Louis Armstrong.
“We are thrilled to have a museum professional of David’s caliber on our team,” said LAHM Executive Director Michael Cogswell. “David brings decades of experience to guide Louis Armstrong House Museum as we enter the next phase of our strategic plan.”
The Louis Armstrong House Museum is located at 34-56 107th St. in Corona and is open every Tuesday – Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and weekends from noon – 5p.m. It can be found online at www.LouisArmstrongHouse.org.
Reach Reporter Megan Montalvo at (718) 357-7400 Ext. 128 or mmontalvo@ queenstribune.com