About the Museum

Alice Austen (1866 - 1952) captured a changing New York City in more than 7000 photographs taken mostly around the turn of the twentieth century. Austen documented her life on Staten Island and went onto the streets of Manhattan to photograph the activities of immigrants and the working class. She was versatile and forged her own path beyond the restrictive Victorian expectations for women. Austen was a master tennis player, an early advocate for women riding bicycles, founder of the Staten Island Garden Club, and is said to be the first women on Staten Island to own a car.

A vibrant cultural center, the Alice Austen House keeps the daring spirit of the early American photographer alive by presenting changing exhibitions of Alice Austen's pioneering historic photographs and of contemporary photography, providing educational programs for students, and offering a range of cultural programs for the public.

In June 2017, the Alice Austen House, where Austen and her life partner, Gertrude Tate, lived together for nearly 30 years, marked its national designation as a site of LGBTQ history. The museum's listing on the National Register of Historic Places was amended to include LGBTQ history as an area of significance. This was an achievement of the NYC LGBT Historic Sites Project, funded through a grant from the New York State Historic Preservation Office and made possible by the National Park Service.

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