What: The Tenement Museum
Where: Lower East Side Manhattan (New York City)
What makes it special
In today’s world, it feels more important than ever to honor the experiences of the immigrants who came to America and make this country what it is today. The Tenement Museum is precisely the place to do that. The museum consists of two buildings on the Lower East Side that were once home to thousands of immigrants (not all at the same time) from scores of different nations. They’ve now been converted into an experiential museum where guides will take you through the lives of those that lived there. One option is the “Shop Life” tour, which brings to an 1870s-era saloon and tells the story of young immigrant proprietors who also lived in the building just steps away from their place of business. If everyone took the time to walk a few steps in the shoes of those who came before us, as you can at the Tenement Museum, perhaps we’d all be more capable of feeling the compassion necessary to welcome our nation’s newest arrivals.
In your own words
“At the end of the tour we learned about a modern day immigrant family living in the same neighborhood, working hard to run their own small restaurant. We left with our eyes opened to the immigrant experience, the stories that are continuing to unfold around us every day in America.”
Submitted by: Nancy Gunn. “Always on my packing list: a pashmina to use as a blanket or a wrap. Travel tip: Don’t be afraid to ask for help. It makes most people feel good to help someone navigate their city”
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Photo via Tenement Museum
Warning: This museum is shown by guided tour only. Therefore, you must plan enough time. Often, that is not a problem. However, a few peoples’ style is to whiz through a museum. That is not possible with this museum. The guided tours are part of the admission fee.
That’s a great tip, Derek. Thanks!
My mother was a resident of the museum at age 2 in the year 1900. She was thrilled to return for a private tour at age 93. Her delight was recorded in a photograph on the front page of a local newspaper.