New York Lower East Side Tenement Museum

Lower East Side Tenement Museum has a wide range of exhibition on the immigration of foreign people to New York. It is an interesting place to visit and should be included in everyone’s schedule.

It is the first ever museum that is built from a run down apartment house. It is declared as one of the National Historic Site in the United States. The status was bestowed to the Lower East Side Tenement Museum for many reasons. One of the purposes of the museum construction is to generate public awareness of the hard work of the workers who had built the New York City. Visitors get to explore the lifestyle of the people more than a century ago in New York. It shows how the people venture their life from different part of the world to make the United States a nation of different ethic.

Lower East Side Tenement Museum New York Lower East Side Tenement Museum

In 1863, Lukas Glockner invested a sum of money to build a tenement building at 97 Orchard Street. He wanted to build the tenement building to provide cheap rental site for the immigrants that arrive at Ellis Island. Since the opening of the tenement building, over seven thousand tenants had stayed there. They made their first home at the cheap housing so that they can work in the country.

Later, zoning law was introduced in New York City. Due to the zoning law, the owner must refurbish the tenement building. In 1935, the building was shut down because the owner cannot come up with the money to refurbish it. The building was reopened in 1987. It is in the same condition as before. During the restoration work, the workers discover a large amount of items left by the tenants in the house five decades ago. Some of the items that were discovered at the tenement building include toys, furniture and etc. The items are stored in a safe place and protected by the government because it depicts a rich immigration history in the United States.

The archaeologist began working on the tenement building in 1993. They dug the courtyard and come across many interesting artifacts. In 1994, the first four storey of the building was renovated so that it meets with the building laws of the state. After the renovation is completed, it was opened to the public. The apartment provides visitors the opportunity to explore the living condition of the immigrants in the United States at that time.

Plans to restore the building are underway. It allows people to learn about how the foreign immigration comes to play an important role in the formation of the multi ethnic New York residents.

What’s to Do and See?

Before you sign up for a tour, you should watch the media presentation. The media presentation depicts the life condition of the immigrants when they first arrived at the United States. The media presentation offers clips of interview with the previous resident. By watching the media representation, you will know what to expect in the tour.

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If you want to explore the Lower East Side Tenement, you must take part in the public tour. The seat in the public tour is a first come first serve basis. During Saturday and Sunday, the seats in the tours will be occupied so it is not recommended that you visit those times. You should visit the Lower East Side Tenement during the week day. You should not wear an elaborate dress while visiting the museum. Visitors are encouraged to wear casual dress so that they won’t feel uncomfortable touring the building.

Piecing it Together Tour

The Piecing it Together tour lasts for one hour. Both adults and children can participate in the Piecing it Together Tour. During the tour, you will get to visit the apartment of  Jewish family. The Jewish family arrived in New York City from Poland. Visitors can see the garment factory setup in the tiny room and how they celebrate the birth of their son. Next, you will visit the apartment that belonged to the Lithuanian Jewish family. In the apartment, you will find out how they cried for their father’s death. Tourists also get to visit the apartments that belonged to the Levine and Rogaeshevksky families. By visiting these apartments, you will know the problems that are cope by the early immigrants. It generates public awareness regarding how the immigrants protect themselves in bad times.

The Getting By Tour

The Getting By Tour lasts for one hour. The tour is designed for children above 8 years old. The guide will bring the children to two apartments. The two apartments which will be visited in the Getting By Tour are Gumpertz family and Baldizzi family. Gumpertz family is of German Jewish descent. Baldizzi family is a Catholic family emigrated from Sicily. During the tour, the guide will explain about the welfare options available to the modern immigrants compare with immigrants in the past.

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The Confino Living History Tour

The Confino Living History Tour is a tour to the apartment of the Confino family. The Confino family is a mixed of Turkish and Jewish race. The Confino family is of Sephardic descent. Once you enter the apartment, you will be greeted with the actress who acts in the role of Victoria Confino. The actress will explain to the people about how the family takes on their new life in America. Tourists can touch the items in the house. The tour is recommended for families that have children under 5 years old.

Lower East Side Walking Tour

The Lower East Side Walking Tour brings the visitors to several places in the neighborhood. The tour allows the visitors to learn about the difference between the past and present living condition in the neighborhood. The Lower East Side Walking Tour is about 1.5 hour long.

The Store

The Lower East Side Tenement Museum has a souvenir shop where you can buy souvenir gifts for your friends. Some of the souvenir items sold at the souvenir shop include books, handcrafted gifts and etc. Most of the handcrafted gifts depict the different ethnic that once lived in the tenement building.


The tenement building is not equipped with an elevator. The only way to access the building is by stairs. Handicapped people who travel in wheelchairs cannot visit the tenement building. Parents are not allowed to bring their babies in strollers during the tour. The Lower East Side Walking Tour can be participated by handicapped people. If you have sight or hearing problem, you can inquire for the available options at the customer service center. The museum has its own car park. The parking ticket is free for visitors who come at certain hours during the day. Some of the guided tours have a question and answer period. Snacks are provided at the end of the tour. If you want to learn about what took place during the time period, you can ask the guide during the question and answer period at the end of the tour.

Lower East Side Tenement Museum NYC

The Lower East Side Tenement Museum has a goal to provide public awareness about the immigration history in the United States. Each tour aims to educate the public about the life stories of the different immigrant family who lived in the tenement building.

When the tenement museum first opened, there were only two full staffs. Now, the museum employs ten full time staffs. The tenement museum has an operating budget of $1,000,000 per year. The museum aims to unite people of all ethnics in the United States. If you are interested in visiting the Lower East Side Tenement Museum, you can call 212-982-8420 to find out more information.

Contact Details:

Address: 97 Orchard St, New York, NY 10002, United States

Phone Numbers: (212) 431-0233, (212) 982-8420

Fax Number: (212) 431-0402



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