Ms. Bain earned her BA in African-American Studies and Theater from Yale University and her MFA from the Yale School of Drama.
“I am so proud to join this community dedicated to celebrating the legacy of Louis Armstrong,” Regina Bain says. “The House Museum is a crown jewel in American culture. Mr. Armstrong’s archives is among the most significant Black archival collections, and one of the most substantial of any jazz musician.”
“The health, economic and racial pandemics afflicting America have had a profound effect on the House, but like Louis Armstrong, we see opportunity within challenges,” Bain continues. “With the opening of the new Louis Armstrong Center in Spring 2021, the House Museum is poised to grow exponentially. The expanded campus will become a new, international destination celebrating Armstrong’s preeminent place in our culture and living out his values of artistic excellence, global ambassadorship, youth leadership and service to community.”
“Globally famous Louis Armstrong chose to live in Corona, Queens, because he craved its sense of community and its diversity,” says Queens College President Frank H. Wu. “A musician and international ambassador like no other, he left us an enduring and vital legacy that we are honored to uphold. In Regina Bain, the new director of the Louis Armstrong House Museum, we have found a leader who possesses the depth and breadth of skill — spanning arts management, community engagement, administration and mentorship — needed to make Armstrong’s legacy even more accessible at a time when it is most needed. It is my pleasure to extend to Ms. Bain a warm Queens College welcome.”
“As a member of the Search Committee I asked myself what is the most important criteria for selecting our new director,” Board Chair of the Louis Armstrong House Museum Jerry Chazen says. “I ultimately realized it was ‘is this the person Louis Armstrong would have picked to run this organization?’ Regina was the one who best fit that bill. Her desire to interpret Louis’s legacy as an artist and humanitarian will pave the way for new generations to discover his genius and contributions to our history.”
The announcement comes at the time when the Louis Armstrong House Museum is focusing more than ever on how to engage with the community through its unique family-friendly blend of arts and education – a vision that Bain will help grow and steer. This vision includes putting into motion several long-in-the-works initiatives, including the restoration of the House Museum this fall and launching the virtual “Armstrong Now!” program. Bain will also help develop new programs and activities focusing on community engagement, as well as ensuring that the House Museum continues to be a sustainable and accessible environment amid COVID-19.
The museum will honor Armstrong’s legacy of social justice during its virtual gala webcast held on September 17th. This is the same day that, in 1957, Armstrong during an interview called out President Eisenhower who was slow to intervene when Arkansas Governor Orval Faubus used the National Guard to bar nine students from entering Little Rock’s Central High School because they were Black.
Learn more about September’s Virtual Gala:
Louis Armstrong remains an icon to this day, with the museum becoming a destination for fans new and longtime, including Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts (who visited the museum last fall) and Paul McCartney, who just performed at a benefit playing Louis’ trumpet – which is kept safe at the Museum.
About Louis Armstrong House Museum:
The Louis Armstrong House Museum & Archives is a National Historic Landmark and a New York City landmark. The Museum is a member of the American Alliance of Museums, the Association of African American Museums, the Museums Council of New York City, the New York State Museums Association, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and NYC & Company. The Museum is a constituent of the Kupferberg Center for the Arts at Queens College. The historic site is owned by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs and administered by Queens College under a long-term license agreement.
The Louis Armstrong House Museum & Archives sustains and promotes the cultural, historical, and humanitarian legacy of Louis Armstrong by preserving and interpreting Armstrong’s house and grounds, collecting and sharing archival materials that document Armstrong’s life and legacy, and presenting public programs such as exhibits, concerts, lectures, and film screenings. The Museum seeks to educate and inspire people of all ages, origins, and locations.