Hello, and welcome to the Duke Ellington Collection, located in the National Museum of American History's Archives Center, where it has been housed since 1988. Like the movements in an Ellington extended work, the sound recordings, business records, concert posters, music manuscripts and photographs which comprise the collection both tell a differing yet unified story of the man nicknamed "Duke". For while best known for titles such as "Satin Doll" and "Mood Indigo", Ellington's stature as a world statesman, african american, husband and father ( among others ) are equally important facets of the story, and the tour you are about to take would be woefully incomplete without them.
Fortunately for you, longtime Ellingtonian or relative newcomer to what the Washington native once referred to as his "mad, mad world", the materials located within the collection and throughout the tour are a rich trove of the aforementioned items, and can be accessed via appointment. The materials have been used for scholars, the Ellington travelling exhibition entitled "Beyond Category" and for television and radio documentaries. Now, it's your turn to swing with the band.