Oct 14, 2013

By Bob Komsic

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On tomorrow’s 10th anniversary of the Louis Armstrong museum in New York an usual artifact will be on display.

It’s a plaster mask that had been kept for decades in a cupboard of the modest brick house in the borough of Queens.

It shows creases on his forehead, bags under his eyes and scars on his lips from a lifetime of horn-playing.

Museum official are not sure who made it.

The house and its furnishing are virtually unchanged from when Armstrong lived there with his wife, Lucille, from 1943 to 1971, when he died from a heart attack in his bedroom.

Armstrong was 69.

After his widow died in 1983, Armstrong’s collection of home-recorded tapes, photographs, scrapbooks and other material was donated to Queens College.

It’s the largest publicly held archival collection devoted to a jazz musician in the world.

A new visitor and state-of-the-art multimedia exhibition center with a 72-seat jazz club across the street is scheduled to open in 2016.

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