Who was Alice Austen? Grab your camera or sketch pad and find out. A visit to the museum that was her home for almost 80 years offers a glimpse into the life and work of this fascinating individual, one of the first woman photographers. In addition to an exhibition of Austen's photographs, there are regular shows related to her work and that of associated 19th- and 20th-century artists. A restored parlor in this elegant gingerbread cottage, built in the 1690s, showcases some of the Austen family's furniture and heirlooms, as well as examples of period decorative arts. Clear Comfort —as the estate is also known—and its Victorian gardens sit above the entrance to New York Harbor, offering spectacular views of Manhattan, the Statue of Liberty (see separate entry) and the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge.
See the Alice Austen House on NYC-ARTS Curator's Choice
Programs for Seniors
Photography classes available and senior programs can be arranged.
Alice Austen House Museum affords children and their families the opportunity to learn about local history. Families can visit the cottage, view current exhibitions and rove the grounds during regular museum hours.
Family Admission: Suggested donation: $3
All programs explore the life and times of Alice Austen (1866-1952) and her contribution to photography. They include an overview of Austen's life and a tour of her home. Programs enhance classroom learning, complement the New York City Board of Education's New York State and Local History curriculum and can be tailored to meet a class or group's specific needs.
Writing with Light: Students are introduced to the basic concepts of photochemistry as they learn how a camera records an image. They place a stencil on light-sensitive paper and expose it to sunlight so that the paper develops a direct positive image. After the image is immersed in a water "stop bath" and air dried, students take home their solargrams.
Through Alice's Eyes: Armed with a guidebook, students travel in and around the home and attempt to find the same objects and scenes Alice saw through her lenses over 100 years ago. After completing this hunt, they return to some of the stops and photograph them. Students take home a booklet.
Alice's House: This program focuses on the house's history and architectural evolution from a one-room Dutch farmhouse to the rambling Victorian Gothic cottage seen today; an art book helps students to visualize this transformation.
Alice's World: Students learn about the Austen fmaily and its history, much of which is told by way of the photographer's work.
School Hours: Mon-Fri 9:30 am-4:30 pm or by appointment
School Admission: $2 per person (one adult free with every 10 students)