Lt. Gov. Landrieu Announces $6M for Jazz Museum at Old US Mint -- 04/24/2008
Office of Lieutenant GovernorFOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 24, 2008
LT. GOV. LANDRIEU ANNOUNCES $6M FOR JAZZ MUSEUM AT OLD U.S. MINT
Partnership with U.S. Dept. of Interior Results in National Park Service Centennial Challenge funding
BATON ROUGE - Lt. Governor Mitch Landrieu today announced $6 million in state and federal funding that will make a world-class Jazz Museum at the Old U.S. Mint a reality.
"I'm honored that the Department of the Interior has named the Jazz Museum at the Old U.S. Mint as one of 100 projects it is funding in the National Park Service Centennial program this year. I want to thank Secretary Dirk Kempthorne for his support," said Lt. Governor Landrieu. "This news couldn't come at a better time as New Orleans prepares to celebrate its 38th annual Jazz Fest -- a cultural tradition whose significance is felt worldwide. The Jazz Museum will be a great cultural asset for our community and will showcase Louisiana's rich history as the birthplace of jazz."
The National Park Centennial Challenge is the public-private matching element of the President's National Park Centennial Initiative to prepare national parks for a second century of excellence in time for the National Park Service's 100th anniversary in 2016.
The Jazz Museum has been a top priority of the Lt. Governor and is part of his overall mission to grow the cultural economy. Lt. Gov. Landrieu met with the Department of the Interior and White House officials in 2007 to convey the state's commitment to the creation of the Jazz Museum. Working with Louisiana musicians, including jazz legend Wynton Marsalis, and creating a strong partnership with the National Park Service at Armstrong Park helped to secure Louisiana's award in the Centennial Challenge.
"This project showcases what the National Park and the State Museum each do best to create a great venue and visitor experience that neither could do as well alone. The Park brings interpretive programs complete with regular musical performances while the Museum brings exhibits and curatorial knowledge. Together they offer a world class jazz museum and performance center for local residents, schools and the visiting public to enjoy," said New Orleans Jazz National Park Superintendent John Quirk.
The funding will be used to transform the 71,000 square-foot Mint into a Jazz Museum through building improvements and exhibition development. The creation of performance space for musicians will allow visitors to understand more fully the influence of jazz on Louisiana's and the nation's heritage.
"The Jazz Museum in partnership with the National Park Service will help grow our state and nation's cultural economy and will draw tourists worldwide to experience all things jazz," said Lt. Gov. Landrieu. "New Orleans has a very authentic and distinct culture that isn't duplicated anywhere in the nation. New Orleans gave birth to jazz. It's only fitting that Louis Armstrong's horn and other important jazz artifacts find a permanent home in the Jazz Museum at the U.S. Mint."
The Mint was heavily damaged by Hurricane Katrina, but restoration efforts were completed in October 2007. At the core of the Louisiana State Museum's Music Collection is its internationally-known Jazz Collection, the largest and most comprehensive of its kind in the world. The exhibit has been stored since being evacuated from the storm. It will return as an integral part of the Centennial Project.
The Jazz Collection chronicles the music and careers of the men and women who created, enhanced and continue the tradition of New Orleans jazz at the local, national and international levels. It consists of instruments, pictorial sheet music, photographs, records, tapes, manuscripts and other items ranging from Louis Armstrong's first cornet to a 1917 disc of the first jazz recording ever made. It includes the world's largest collection of instruments owned and played by important figures in jazz - trumpets, cornets, trombones, clarinets and saxophones played by jazz greats such as Bix Beiderbecke, Edward "Kid" Ory, George Lewis, Sidney Bechet, and Dizzy Gillespie.
The jazz museum is projected to be completed by 2010.