Jacob A. Riis (1849-1914)

Reporter, photographer, author, lecturer and social reformer. The most influential Danish – American of all time. Pioneer of photojournalism. Described as ‘America’s most useful citizen’ by President Theodore Roosevelt.

One of the most influential journalists and social reformers of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Jacob A. Riis documented and helped to improve the living conditions of millions of poor immigrants in New York.

Now, Museum of Southwest Jutland is creating an exciting new museum in Mr. Riis’ hometown in Denmark – inside the very building in which he grew up – which will both celebrate the life and legacy of Mr. Riis while simultaneously exploring the themes he famously wrote about and photographed – immigration, poverty, education and social reform.

These topics are still, if not more, relevant today. In the media, in politics and in academia, they are burning issues of our times.

The museum will enable visitors to not only learn about this influential immigrant and the causes he fought for in a turn-of-the-century New York context, but also to navigate the rapidly changing worlds of identity, demographics, social conditions and media in modern times.

We welcome you to explore the website and learn about this thrilling project.


Jacob A. Riis made a significant, lasting impact on America. We want to share that legacy, as well as his own remarkable story of finding an identity and becoming an American. But we can only do this with the generous support of donations.

As a nonprofit organization, the creation of the new museum relies on external funding, mainly in the form of giving. If you are interested in supporting this project, you will find instructions on how to donate here: