2023 Founder's Award Recipient

Anita Jacobson

Honoree Headshot: A. Jacobson


Anita Jacobson

Tenement Museum Co-founder, Curator, Artist

Anita Jacobson has a long-ranging background in the fields of art and historic preservation. She received a BA from New York University majoring in Art History. However, it was not until years later that she became interested in the field of Social History. Her career began as a freelance graphic designer for several publishing companies. Working for Facts on File she researched all the photographs for “The Encyclopedia of Historic Places” and a two-volume book entitled “Twentieth Century Theater.”

As the Museum’s first curator, she discovered and catalogued hundreds of artifacts. She participated in the creation of many of the Museum’s programs, created its temporary exhibits and managed the archives and library. After her attendance at the Cooperstown Graduate Program in Museum Studies, she returned to begin the research and the furnishing of the first two tenement apartment recreations. Having been on staff for ten years, she continued her involvement as a board member and consultant, researching photographs for “Six Heritage Tours of the Lower Set Side (New York Press,1997) a walking tour guidebook published in conjunction with the Tenement Museum.

Since retiring from the Museum, she has enjoyed a career as a collage artist, focusing on environmental themes and has exhibited in the Hudson Valley and NYC.

As the recipient of our Founder’s Award, we celebrated Anita’s countless contributions to the Museum at this year’s Gala — from its discovery as a dilapidated tenement building shuttered for more than 50 years through its transformation into a one-of-a-kind museum.

Explore 97 Orchard Street with Anita as it was in the 90s and see more rare footage in our special gala livestream program, Rebuilding Our Foundations!

More 2023 Gala Honorees