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.


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Location: Jersey City & New York City

Designation: National Monument

Date designated or established: 5/11/1965

Date of my visit: 9/23/2019