The Lower East Side Tenement Museum is a window into the past, walking us through life as it was for more than 7,000 immigrants in the years between 1863 and 1935. They came from more than 20 nations to find new hope in America. Restored apartments of past residents from different time periods give us a feel for the struggles and challenges immigrants of the past have faced. It also helps us relate their struggles to those faced by immigrants of today.
The Tenement Museum, now a national landmark, sees over 140,000 visitors annually from all 50 states and over 30 countries. Started in 1988 by Ruth Abram, the museum strives to "promote tolerance and historical perspective" by preserving and sharing a critical piece of American history.
The Tenement Museum is open seven days a week (except for major holidays) and provides many opportunities for stepping into the past.
• Guided Tenement Tours of the six tenement apartments
• Kitchen Conversations -- a facilitated conversation with other visitors worldwide sharing perspectives on immigration related issues
• Lower East Side Walking Tour -- Visit and learn about a dozen sites important to immigrants past and present
• Tenement Talks -- evening series of lectures, readings, panel discussions, films and other programs
• Programs for school children
• Tenement Museum shop -- more than 1,500 titles, fiction and non-fiction, written by and about immigrants. The store also includes the types of toys tenement children might have played with.
If you're vacationing in New York City, find time in your schedule to visit the Lower East Side Tenement Museum. It's a wonderful hands-on experience and a taste of urban history, as well as a reminder of the struggles immigrants past and present have faced to build this nation.
Resource: Lower East Side Tenement Museum, http://www.tenement.org
Photos courtesy: Tenement Museum
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