Historic Lesbian Photographer's House Awarded $250K Grant

Alice Austen House receives grant from National Endowment from the Humanities.


Alice Austen Museum | Wikipedia

Alice Austen House, in Staten Island, New York, will receive $250,000 over two years from the National Endowment from the Humanities to support updating the display of early trailblazing American photographer Alice Austen’s photographs at the historic museum that was once her home.

The grant is part of $21.7 million allocated to more than 200 humanities projects nationwide. This project, titled New Eyes on Alice Austen: Redesigning the Museum’s Permanent Installation, represents a significant contribution from the federal budget toward the total project which aims to fully embody Alice Austen’s historic significance to New York City and the U.S. 

Alice Austen (1866-1952) captured with her camera a changing New York in over 7,000 photographs that were taken mostly around the turn of the 20th century. Austen documented her own life on Staten Island, and its evolving landscapes, as well as the lives of immigrants and working class people in Manhattan. She defied the norms and standards to which women of her era were held and was an outdoor enthusiast, a keen tennis player, an early advocate for women's physical autonomy which included but was not limited to the riding of bicycles. She was the founder of the Staten Island Garden Club, and is said to be the first woman on Staten Island to own an automobile. Austen was also a lesbian and had a loving relationship with Gertrude Tate for more than 50 years, 30 of which were lived in the Austen home that is now a museum. 

The historic Alice Austen House update will be conducted by a team of scholars who will re-envision the permanent display to convey Austen’s contributions to photographic, immigrant, women’s and LGBT history.

Janice Monger, Executive Director said, “On behalf of the Board of Directors and staff of the Alice Austen House, I am proud and grateful to receive this meaningful investment from the National Endowment for the Humanities. What a fitting way to cap off Women’s History Month!”

She concluded, “We look forward to using the funds to further build on a prior $35,000 grant from NEH, one that culminated in the presentation of a sold-out scholars’ discussion at the Whitney Museum of American Art in March 2016.” 

For more information on the Alice Austen House go here

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