The people at Alf Interactive, developers of the new and improved www.satchmo.net, official website of the Louis Armstrong House & Archives (LAHA), have taken to heart the Ginsu knife advertising phrase “But wait, there’s more!” Launched on February 11, the refurbished site is more user-friendly, offers more information and is easy to navigate. It features the “Date in the Life of Louis” calendar, photo and video tours of Armstrong’s house and, of course, much, much more.
The site has received 250,000 hits by people from 100 countries, something Michael Cogswell, director of LAHA, seems to think Armstrong would have been very excited about. “Louis loved gadgets. If he were alive today, he would certainly be surfing the Internet.”
LAHA’s primary focus of the Web site, however, is the promotion of Armstrong’s house as a museum. After the beloved trumpeter’s death, his house in Queens was declared a National Historic Landmark (1977), and following his wife’s passing it became a City of New York Landmark (1986). Now the City and LAHA wish to begin a restoration of the Louis Armstrong House in March, and donations are desperately needed. Major funding for the initial project has been provided by the Louis Armstrong Educational Foundation, the Office of the Queens Borough President, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs, in addition to many other corporations and government entities. But the budget, encompassing day-to-day expenses, payroll, etc., will triple once the museum opens to the public.
The site offers a variety of choices for donation including membership in LAHA. Donation levels range from the basic $20 to the ALL STAR $1,000, and benefits range from receipt of LAHA’s biannual newsletter to T-shirts to acknowledgment in LAHA material. LAHA has also affiliated itself with www.shopformuseums.com, a fundraising site for museums and zoos in the U.S., bringing in revenue through on-line consumer sales. This site offers accessibility to over 125 merchants from Tower Records to Eddie Bauer, and 2% to 7% of each transaction is donated to the museum of your choice. Membership fees for LAHA and revenue generated from www.shopformuseums.com will go toward opening the Louis Armstrong House as a museum, special exhibits each year at the Louis Armstrong Archives, the annual “Pops is Tops” concerts for children in the Armstrong House garden, outreach programs to schools, senior centers and libraries and much, much more.
Louis Armstrong once said of his home “We don’t think that we could be more relaxed and have better neighbors any place else.” LAHA is helping to ensure Satchmo’s sentiments endure for generations to come.Originally Published