28 Feb National Comedy Center Named Best New Museum in the Country by USA Today
Jamestown, NY – February 28, 2020 — The National Comedy Center, the nation’s official cultural institution and state-of-the-art museum dedicated to comedy as an art form, was named the “Best New Museum” in the country by USA Today as part of the 2020 USA Today’s 10Best Readers’ Choice Travel Awards, it was announced today.
The National Comedy Center was one of 20 new museums nominated for the award by a panel of nationally-recognized travel journalists, tourism experts and USA Today editors for this USA Today travel award series, which celebrates outstanding destinations, attractions and experiences. All of the nominees were museums that opened over the past two years, including art galleries, science museums and children’s museums in cities across the United States and Canada, including Dallas, New Orleans, St. Louis, Seattle, New York City, St. Petersburg, FL , St. Paul, MN and Edmonton, Alberta. The Comedy Center was selected as the #1 museum in the “Best New Museum” category by popular vote after a four-week voting period from January 20 through February 17, 2020.
“We are tremendously proud to be named the Best New Museum in the United States and Canada,” said Journey Gunderson, National Comedy Center Executive Director. “We have reimagined the museum experience with immersive exhibit design and unprecedented personalization. This distinction is a testament to the significance of comedy, and talented comedic artists, to our culture and our daily lives.”
“Our visitors — from all 50 states and 18 countries — already know what a must-see destination the Comedy Center is,” added Gunderson. “We look forward to welcoming thousands more comedy fans from across the country and around the world to the Best New Museum, here in Jamestown, New York.”
“The National Comedy Center team is grateful for the incredible support from our local community, the entire Western New York region, and from comedy fans across the country, all of whom voted for the Comedy Center to receive this national recognition and high honor” said Tom Benson, National Comedy Center project chairman. “It’s tremendous validation of the hard work and vision of our staff and board, our partner organizations, and our community, who believed in this project and worked tirelessly to make it happen.”
“The National Comedy Center is one of my favorite places in the world, and I am thrilled that everyone will now know what I already knew — it is absolutely the best new museum in the country. It’s an extraordinary showplace for all things comedic –- and interactive from the moment you walk in. I promise you will smile from beginning to end. Now that the Comedy Center is officially the country’s Best New Museum, you need to make plans to visit. You won’t be disappointed,” said Lewis Black, comedian, actor, author and National Comedy Center Advisory Board member.
New York State Executive Director of Tourism Ross D. Levi said, “We are very excited that USA Today readers chose the National Comedy Center as the best new museum in the US and Canada. Anyone who loves comedy should plan a pilgrimage to this world-class, one-of-a-kind attraction as part of a New York State vacation that includes nearby destinations like the Lucy Desi Museum, the Chautauqua Institution, Panama Rocks and Niagara Falls.”
Last summer the National Comedy Center was named by TIME magazine as one of the “World’s Greatest Places” and People magazine selected it as one of its “100 Reasons to Love America.”
In early 2019, the National Comedy Center was nominated for the USA Today Readers’ Choice “Best New Attraction” award, where it was voted #2 out of 20 new attractions by USA Today readers and chosen as the #1 museum and #1 ticketed attraction in the USA Today poll.
About the National Comedy Center
The National Comedy Center is the United States’ official cultural institution and museum dedicated to presenting the vital story of comedy and preserving its heritage for future generations, as formally designated by the U.S. Congress in 2019. Opened in August 2018 in Jamestown, New York, the museum complex offers an unprecedented visitor experience using state-of-the-art technology, interactivity and personalization to create the first true 21st Century museum environment.
Comedy industry authority The Interrobang named the design team second on its list of “Innovators Who Changed Comedy” in 2018. Visitors from all 50 states and eighteen countries have given the Center a rare 5/5 raring on TripAdvisor, ranking among the highest in the attraction and tourism industry
Based on the vision of Jamestown native Lucille Ball for her hometown to become a destination for comedy, the National Comedy Center showcases comedy’s great minds and unique voices in ways that engage, inspire, educate and entertain. As a non-profit institution, the National Comedy Center was funded by a mix of federal, state and private philanthropic support, including partnerships with I LOVE NY, Governor Andrew Cuomo and New York State’s Empire State Development.
Design for the National Comedy Center was led by the most prominent cultural and interactive design firms in the world, whose portfolios collectively include the award-winning 9/11 Memorial Museum, The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, The College Football Hall of Fame, SNL: The Experience, and more.
The National Comedy Center has been embraced by the entertainment industry, with props, costumes and archival material provided by many of the most revered names in comedy. The Comedy Center recently announced a major initiative to preserve Carl Reiner’s personal “Dick Van Dyke Show” script archive. Exhibition partners include the Kelly Carlin and the George Carlin estate, George Shapiro and Jerry Seinfeld, Dan Aykroyd, Alan and Robin Zweibel, Joan Dangerfield, The Lenny Bruce Memorial Foundation, Lily Tomlin and Jane Wagner, The Harold Ramis Family, The Garry Shandling Estate, George Schlatter, Bill Marx and the Harpo Marx Family, the Ernie Kovacs and Edie Adams estate, Desilu Too, NBC Universal, Paramount Pictures, Warner Bros. Corporate Archive, and many more.
The National Comedy Center operates the Lucille Ball Desi Arnaz Museum, which explores the lives, careers and legacy of the “First Couple of Comedy,” and the incredible impact they had on the world.
Now in its 30th year, the Lucille Ball Comedy Festival in Jamestown has showcased comedy’s greatest stars and rising young comedians, including Jerry Seinfeld, Ellen DeGeneres, Trevor Noah, Lily Tomlin, Jay Leno, Amy Schumer, Brian Regan, Lewis Black, W. Kamau Bell, Jim Gaffigan, Paula Poundstone, Dan Aykroyd, Joan Rivers, Bob Newhart, the Smothers Brothers and more than one hundred other comedic artists. The 2019 Lucille Ball Comedy Festival, presented by the National Comedy Center last August, was headlined by Sebastian Maniscalco and John Mulaney. The 2020 festival will feature Jeff Foxworthy and Legends of SNL David Spade, Rob Schneider and Kevin Nealon.