Alice Austen Everyday: A Photo Series Inspired by Place

09/26/15– 12/30/15


Alice Austen's beloved home, Clear Comfort, was her muse and her window onto the world at the entrance to the New York Harbor. The vantage point from Clear Comfort is majestic, with a panoramic vista of Lower Manhattan, New Jersey, and Brooklyn. Today, the museum devoted to the early American photographer continues to be a witness to history and a lively public space.  

Starting last year on Alice Austen’s birthday, the Alice Austen House began a project documenting the grounds and waterfront from Austen’s home, Clear Comfort. Each day since then the house, grounds, and activities of the site have been documented, much like Alice Austen did over a hundred years ago. The museum will present an installation of nearly 200 snapshots capturing the daily life of this historic site and invite visitors to participate in the project. 

Be like Alice!
The Alice Austen House invites you to Clear Comfort to take your own images of the site that is an inspiration to photographers. Museum visitors can upload their own images to social media with the tag #aliceausteneveryday or email them to with the title, date, and name of photographer.
Alice Austen Everyday will be on view from September 26 – December 30, 2015, shown in conjunction with the museum’s 30thAnniversary exhibition “Becoming Clear Comfort: History of a Landmark," tracing the history of the house.  Recently tagged images will also be on view, presented on an iPad in the gallery.
Cover Photo Contest

Submit a #aliceausteneveryday photo of the house and grounds of Clear Comfort to by November 1, 2015. The selected winner’s photo will be used as the Alice Austen House’s Facebook Cover Photo.


Alice Austen Everyday Photo Event

Saturday, September 26, 2015 
2:00 - 4:00 pm 
You’re the photographer! Come out for a special lawn party and photo session: visit Clear Comfort, document the grounds, direct the scene, and explore the site – just like Alice. The afternoon will begin with a discussion about the #aliceausteneveryday project and how the museum uses Instagram. The fun continues with refreshments, lawn games, dress up, and selfies with Alice Austen. Bring your own camera and picnic!
Upload images taken during the day to social media using the hashtag #aliceausteneveryday. Not on social media? Email photos with title, date, and name of photographer to to be included in the project.

30th Anniversary Exhibition

03/14/15– 12/31/15

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Exhibition Opening & Open House: Saturday, March 14, 2015, 3-5 p.m. with Members' Hour 2-3 p.m. Join us to celebrate the history and legacy of Clear Comfort with tours of the public and private spaces of the home.


Becoming Clear Comfort: History of a Landmark brings to light the history of the museum’s National and New York City Landmark building, tracing its path from one-room Dutch farmhouse in the 1690s, to Victorian Gothic cottage and home to early American photographer Alice Austen (1866-1952), to protected landmark, to public museum. Presented upon the museum’s 30th anniversary and as part of the celebrations for the 50th anniversary of the NYC Landmarks Law, this exhibition explores the Alice Austen House’s significance in New York City history and tells the fascinating story of the saving of the house from threatened destruction.


The exhibition explores the many layers of history represented in the house, including its Dutch origins dating back to the 1690s and the many architectural changes over time.  Select photographs by Alice Austen of the home convey the strong ties and pride she felt toward Clear Comfort, her home of 78 years and her artistic muse. The hardships faced will also be presented through the tragic story of Alice Austen’s eviction from her family home when she could no longer afford mortgage payments. Stories of other residents of the house over the centuries will be revealed, including Alice Austen’s lifelong companion Gertrude Tate, as well as later renters and caretakers. Clear Comfort also represents a preservation success story about a group of concerned citizens and prominent photographers and architectural scholars who came together and fought to save the house from development in the 1970s and open the home as a public museum in 1985. The exhibit will also look at the restoration efforts around preserving the house in the 1980s and recent restoration work in 2014. The Alice Austen House stands on the north shore of Staten Island as a reminder of the power of place and the importance of preserving history.


Becoming Clear Comfort is co-curated by Paul Moakley and Shiloh Aderhold, with essays by architectural historians Francis Morrone and Barnett Shepherd. The exhibition is generously supported by the New York Council for the Humanities and, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council. Becoming Clear Comfort celebrates the 30th anniversary of the Alice Austen House and is presented in association with the NYC Landmarks50 Alliance to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the New York City Landmarks Law


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A special thanks to Image and video hosting by TinyPic for providing support to digitize a selection of oral histories presented in the exhibition.

  • The Austen Parlor, from Harper's Magazine, September 1878
  • The Grounds of Clear Comfort
  • Bruce Schlein, Facade of Clear Comfort, 1960s
  • 2014 Restoration (Staten Island Advance/Bill Lyons)