May 2007. Coming to New York City? Got your tickets for The Statue of Liberty? It’s amazing how many people don’t know that their ferry tickets include entry to Ellis Island and its historical Immigration Museum. Perhaps even more incredible is the number of people who say: “Oh, is that worth doing?”or, “Yeah we didn’t bother with that, we just wanted to see Lady Liberty”. The museum is housed in NYC’s former immigration station complex, a handsome red brick and limestone building that welcomed over twelve million immigrants through its doors between 1892 and 1954.
May 2007. This is The Great Hall, the symbolic heart of the old immigration station and a powerful sight with its high ceiling, arched windows and wooden benches. Back in its heyday the hall would see around five thousand people passing through each day for registration, medical examinations and legal checks. The hall is best viewed from the second balcony where you can also see a series of old photographs from over the years.
May 2007. The museum has a wide range of exhibits walking visitors through the different eras of U.S. immigration. There’s also a Family History Centre where it’s possible to access the passenger records of various ships that docked at Ellis Island. This photo shows The American Flag of Faces, an animated American montage made up of images uploaded by U.S. citizens.
May 2007. Be sure to check out the museum’s collection of antique posters and drop into the theater for a viewing of the award-winning documentary Island of Hope, Island of Tears. It’s estimated that over 40% of American citizens can trace at least one member of their family back to Ellis Island. As such, the site has become a pilgrimage for people wanting to find out more about their ancestors or simply pay tribute to a crucial part of their family history.
May 2007. Ellis Island Immigration Museum is open daily from 09:00-16:30, although exact times do vary with the seasons so check ahead of your visit for the latest news. Note that entry is included as part of the ferry ticket to Liberty Island and Statue Cruises is the ONLY authorized ferry provider. It’s $18 for an adult return, $9 for kids (4-12 years). Entry tickets are also included in the excellent New York Pass booklet that I purchased for my visit to The Big Apple.
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