The National Jazz Museum in Harlem is a cultural venue that’s centrally located in Harlem, New York City. This museum has an extensive collection of LP vinyl records featuring the most successful Jazz musicians. In addition to preserving the history of this music genre, the center hopes to influence the future of African American culture in NYC and nationwide. Click to book your NYC Uptown Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour.
Exhibits and Highlights
The Ralph Ellison Collection at the National Jazz Museum in Harlem includes vinyl records of some of the most famous Jazz artists in American history. In 2007, the center gladly accepted the large collection of a Jazz enthusiast who earned his living as a prominent author and literary critic.
Series 1 of the collection includes 10-inch records with 78 RPM ratings. Most of the songs in this series are by Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington, arguably the most accomplished Jazz musicians in the United States. Series 2 includes 12-inch 33.3 RPM records and Series 3 features 12-inch 78 RPM records. Additionally, the Ralph Ellison collection consists of 10-inch 33.3s and 7-inch 45s.
The audio/video archive at the museum includes recordings of past events by guest speakers and entertainers. Some of the content includes detailed discussions of some of the greatest Jazz artists. Whether you’re a scholar or just a tourist, you’ll find plenty of interesting stories about this music genre that has deep roots in New York and New Orleans.
Throughout the year, the museum hosts exclusive exhibits for local students in primary, secondary, and post-secondary schools. Youth groups often participate in various celebrations and other cultural events at this venue in the heart of Harlem.
Background and History
Harlem played a key role in the Roaring Twenties cultural boom of New York City. Since then, this predominately African American neighborhood has been a major hub for Jazz culture. Leonard Garment, a high-ranking legal expert, established a museum that was dedicated to this popular music genre in the late 1990s.
Born and raised in New York City, he was a top assistant for two U.S. presidents in the 1970s. Abraham David Sofaer, a judge in New York City, was also one of the founders of the National Jazz Museum in Harlem. This district judge played the saxophone, so he was truly passionate about Jazz in the Big Apple.
The center originally opened just off 126th Street in the eastern part of Harlem. In the winter of 2016, the museum relocated to a renovated property with just less than 2,000 sq feet of space for galleries and other presentations.
Visiting The National Jazz Museum in Harlem
The National Jazz Museum in Harlem is located just off Malcolm X Boulevard, one of the major roads in the Harlem district of Manhattan. Carrying northbound and southbound traffic, this busy road has bus stops for multiple MTA bus routes, such as the M7 and M102.
Located just a few blocks south of the museum, the 125th Street Station on Malcolm X Boulevard has platforms for the 2 and 3 trains of the New York City Subway. Both lines run through the western side of Manhattan, including Midtown and the Upper West Side.
This part of Harlem is primarily lined with residential buildings, so free public parking is limited. However, several indoor parking garages are available near the iconic Apollo Theater. If you hire a taxi or another car service, you should be dropped off near the museum’s main entrance on W 129th Street, which only carries westbound traffic.
Location: 58 West 129th Street, New York City, NY, 10027
Click here to visit The National Jazz Museum in Harlem official website.