They faced challenges we understand today: making a new life, working for a better future, starting a family with limited means.
In recognizing the importance of this seemingly ordinary building, the Tenement Museum has re-imagined the role that museums can play in our lives.
The Tenement Museum preserves and interprets the history of immigration through the personal experiences of the generations of newcomers who settled in and built lives on Manhattan's Lower East Side, America's iconic immigrant neighborhood; forges emotional connections between visitors and immigrants past and present; and enhances appreciation for the profound role immigration has played and continues to play in shaping America's evolving national identity.
Visitors go beyond the walls of 97 Orchard Street to explore the neighborhood and continue the immigrant story. In combination with tenement tours, walking tours explore how life was for immigrants on the Lower East Side and how the neighborhood changed.
Each year, 44,000 students visit the Museum to learn about immigration and New York City. We also run ESOL workshops that use tenement history to teach English to today's immigrants.