Who We Are

The mission of the National Jazz Museum in Harlem is to preserve, promote, and present jazz by inspiring knowledge, appreciation and celebration of jazz locally, nationally, and internationally. The National Jazz Museum in Harlem is committed to keeping jazz relevant and exciting in the lives of a diverse range of audiences: young and old, novice and scholar, artist and patron, enthusiast and curious listener. We engage our audiences through live performances, exhibitions, educational workshops, and our news-worthy archival collection of jazz artifacts.

The Museum was founded in 1997 by Leonard Garment, counsel to two U.S. Presidents and accomplished jazz saxophonist, with the help of a $1M Congressional Appropriation.   In 2002, a prestigious Chairman’s Grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, supported a  jazz planning summit convening major jazz educators, programmers, musicians and scholars. Shortly thereafter, the Museum launched an acclaimed series of programs and opened a Visitors Center in the heart of Harlem. The museum is a proud affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution.

Co-Artistic Director, Christian McBride

Bassist/bandleader Christian McBride joined the museum in 2005, and has contributed mightily through his steadfast presence in our programs, as an international ambassador, and in helping conceive new directions for the organization to take as it evolves through its second decade.

Co-Artistic Director, Jonathan Batiste 

Jonathan Batiste is a pianist/bandleader who has been increasingly active in the museum’s programming and growth. By virtue of his age and the wide spectrum of musical genres he represents, Mr. Batiste is growing into an ever-expanding role in the museum’s future and is currently the Musical Director of the Late Show with Steven Colbert.

Founding Director and Senior Scholar, Loren Schoenberg
Saxophonist/conductor Loren Schoenberg opened the museum’s offices in Harlem in 2002 and served for 10 years as its Executive Director, creating the museum’s programs and structure.