Center for Women's History
Explore women's history through exhibitions, programs, scholarship, and immersive multimedia.
About the center
Our new Center for Women’s History—the first of its kind in the nation within the walls of a major museum—reveals the untold stories of women who have shaped and continue to shape the American experience. As a hub for scholarship and education, the new Center demonstrates how women across the spectrum of race, class, and sexuality exercised power and effected change before they could even access the ballot box. Guided by a committee of distinguished historians and informed by the latest research, the Center features permanent installations, temporary exhibitions, and a vibrant array of talks and programs, enriching the cultural landscape of New York City and ushering in a new era of historical discovery.
"Miss Rose Bower of North Dakota" Woman playing trumpet, wearing "Votes for Women" sash. Gelatin Silver Photograph, New-York Historical Society.
Major funding for the Center for Women's History programs provided by
Joyce B. Cowin
Diane and Adam E. Max
The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation
Jean Margo Reid
The Estate of Jean Dubinsky Appleton
Eric J. and Daria L. Wallach
Diana and Joseph DiMenna
Robert and Mercedes Eichholz Foundation
Claudine and Fred Bacher
James Basker and Angela Vallot
The Caroline M. Lowndes Foundation
Leah and Michael R. Weisberg
Public funding for the Center for Women’s History
New York City Department of Cultural Affairs,
in partnership with the City Council
Empire State Development and I LOVE NEW YORK
under Governor Andrew Cuomo’s
Regional Economic Development Council Initiative
As the centerpiece of the transformed fourth floor, the Gallery of Tiffany Lamps—designed by prizewinning architect Eva Jiřičná—features 100 illuminated Tiffany lamps from our spectacular collection, displayed within a dramatically lit jewel-like space.
Regarded as one of the world’s largest and most encyclopedic, New-York Historical’s Tiffany lamp collection includes multiple examples of the Dragonfly shade, a unique Dogwood floor lamp (ca. 1900–06), a Wisteria table lamp (ca. 1901), and a rare, elaborate Cobweb shade on a Narcissus mosaic base (ca. 1902), among many others.
The hidden history behind the lamps offers a fascinating look at the contributions of women in the creation of this art. Louis C. Tiffany (1848–1933) was the artistic genius behind Tiffany Studios. However, he was not the exclusive designer of its lamps, windows, and luxury objects: Clara Driscoll (1861–1944), head of the Women’s Glass Cutting Department from 1892 to 1909, has recently been revealed as the designer of many of the firm’s leaded glass shades.
Driscoll and her staff, self-styled the “Tiffany Girls,” labored in anonymity but were well compensated. Driscoll’s weekly salary of $35 was on par with that of Tiffany’s male designers, a reflection of his regard for her abilities. The lamps in our gallery reflect the prodigious talent of designers and artisans who worked in anonymity to fulfill Tiffany’s aesthetic vision, as well as provide a bridge between New-York Historical's permanent collection and the groundbreaking new Center for Women's History.
Interactive elements in the gallery include a hands-on “Design-a-Lamp” experience and a diorama that illustrates the rise of electrification. Kiosks share personal stories of the individual Tiffany Girls, including dramatic readings from Clara Driscoll’s letters as well as sources of their design inspiration and details on the manufacturing process.