Armstrong Trumpet To Be Displayed In Washington

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When the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington opens in a little under three months, one of its prize exhibits will be this 70-year-old brass trumpet owned and played by Louis Armstrong. (Photo: NMAAHC)

The museum has been under construction on the National Mall in Washington, on a five-acre site that sits next to the Washington Monument. It currently has a gallery that resides on the second floor of the Natonal Museum of American History, but the African American Museum will open in its own right on 24 September.

The Selmer trumpet played by “Satchmo” was made by Henri Selmer of Paris and is inscribed with his name. It was ordered in the 1940s by Armstrong’s longtime manager and friend Joe Glaser, who wrote to the company to say that the storied trumpeter had been playing a Selmer trumpet made in 1932, and wanted “an exact duplicate.”

NMAAHC rendering

A rendering of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture (photo: Freelon Adjaye Bond/SmithGroup)

The NMAAHC was created in 2003 by an Act of Congress, establishing it as part of the Smithsonian Institution. It’s designed, says its mission statement, to be “a place where all Americans can learn about the richness and diversity of the African American experience, what it means to their lives and how it helped us shape this nation. A place that transcends the boundaries of race and culture that divide us, and becomes a lens into a story that unites us all.” More information about the museum here.

Explore our dedicated Louis Armstrong Artist Page

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  1. Geoff

    June 6, 2016 at 11:55 am

    Hello, I am a life long “Pops” fan from Australia and pro brass player. When Satchmo passed on we were led to believe that he was buried with his trumpet, or one of them. Is this true? Obviously not the Selmer horn went with him. Did I see Wynton Marsarlis playing the pictured instrument recently. Thank you love the site

    • pausextudusm

      June 7, 2016 at 10:43 am

      Hi Geoff, thanks for the input, yes Wynton has indeed played the famous Pops trumpet. Delighted that you’re enjoying uDiscover!

  2. Ken Wulff

    June 6, 2016 at 3:30 pm

    The day after I saw Louis Armstrong at the Embassy club on Bellair in Toronto( well over 50 years ago), I went over to Long&McQuades on Yonge St and asked Jim Warburton to order me the “same trumpet that Louis was playing” It travelled back and forth across the country with me and made beautiful music for many years. I still have it – and it still makes a beautiful sound.

    • pausextudusm

      June 7, 2016 at 10:45 am

      What a great story, Ken. Satchmo’s legacy manifests itself in so many ways! Thanks for the input.

  3. Isabel Maturana

    June 29, 2016 at 11:12 pm

    Maravillosa la trompeta de Louis Armstrong.

  4. Boojie C

    January 11, 2017 at 10:48 pm

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t that gold plated? Not just brass.

  5. Boojie C

    January 11, 2017 at 10:50 pm

    Now wouldn’t it be something if we could turn up one of Buddy Bolden’s or King Oliver’s horns for the museum?

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