Adventures written by the VAMONDE Team
New Orleans’ contributions to American culture are invaluable. Without its African, Spanish and French influence, America likely would look like a different place today. One of the most famous and enduring legacies of New Orleans is jazz and in the heart of New Orleans lies a monument to one of America’s first original art forms. The scope of its collection is unparalleled and the building housing this collection, the Old US Mint, is historic in its own right. Located at the intersection of the French Quarter and the Frenchmen Street live music corridor, it's at the heart of New Orleans' music scene according to their website. No matter which aspect of jazz history you are interested in, you will almost certainly find something to capture your attention. Musicians will likely be drawn to the instruments played by legends such as Louis Armstrong and Wilbert Tillman or the sheet music collection spanning decades, including first edition copies of many of the most well-known jazz classics.
Stored within the museum are countless recordings from the inception of jazz as an art form and on. These recordings are on a variety of different formats including many that are no longer widely used today (such as piano rolls) to more modern methods of recording. In addition to concerts at large concert halls and smaller shows at clubs, there are also recordings of interviews and private jam sessions, meaning you can get insight into the minds behind the music you can’t get anywhere else. While many of these recordings are not available to the public, it serves the public interest in preserving these classics for future generations.
Aside from music and instruments, the New Orleans Jazz Museum also has a robust collection of mementos ranging from ticket stubs from famous jazz musicians, posters advertising shows that became legendary in retrospect, and even pieces of famous buildings that are now gone. They also house a collection of sheet music to help preserve copies of Jazz classics and more obscure works. The documents are available in a variety of formats, although some of the older documents are beginning to deteriorate. To combat this, the museum is attempting to digitize the records to preserve them for future generations.
In addition to the history of jazz, the New Orleans Museum of Jazz also helps to propel the art form into the future. To do this, they host over fifteen festivals and countless events year-round, ranging from jazz, yoga, and pilates, regular performances, and much, much more. Tickets are $8 per adult, but discounts could apply if you are in the military, a student, or a AAA member or elderly.
Cover Photo via Louisiana State Museum