Ellis Island National Museum of Immigration


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Ellis Island is a part of the Statue of Liberty National Monument, but is its own island with its own history and worthy of separate exploration. Twelve million immigrants entered the United States through Ellis Island for over 60 years starting in 1892.


The Ellis Island National Museum of Immigration is in the main building where arrivals were processed. Half of today’s American people are descended from the immigrants who passed this way.


I visited here recently with a community school. We stopped first in Ellis Island on our way to the Statue of Liberty and took a guided tour of the museum with a park ranger.


The first floor is the Baggage Room. Immigrants would come here after disembarking from their vessel and leave their luggage before going to the Registry Room on the second floor. Today there are introductory exhibits to the history of american immigration on this floor.


The Registry Room has been restored to its appearance in the early 1900s. The ranger described how the immigrants were examined for contagious disease, interviewed and sorted here. Those who failed inspection were either sent to the hospital on the island for treatment or sent back to their point of departure at the expense of the shipping company.


SOL Posts:


Location: Jersey City & New York City

Designation: National Monument

Date designated or established: 5/11/1965

Date of my visit: 9/23/2019


25 thoughts on “Ellis Island National Museum of Immigration

  1. When people visit New a York from out of town this is the first place I always tell them to go. When you walk into the Great Hall you can imagine what it must have been like to disembark here. The restoration is amazing and the exhibits couldn’t be more interesting. (One of these days we’re going to bump into each other visiting these places.)

    1. I grew up in Staten Island and always passed these things by, too. Didn’t really start to explore the area until I lived with exchange students who wanted to see everything while they were here😊

      1. Kings On the Road

        This is a great post. Photos and story very powerful. We visited the statue but I wish we had visited Ellis Island….next time.

  2. It was my #1 priority to visit when I was in New York nine years ago for a Half Marathon. I am glad to see that the museum has been renovated and I would love to see it once more. I had a father’s uncle who emigrated from Denmark in 1912 and passed through Ellis Island and lived the rest of his life in Seattle, WA

  3. “Half of today’s American people are descended from the immigrants who passed this way.” Wow, I had no idea that it was that percentage. We are indeed a nation of immigrants. Thanks. –Curt

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