Ellis Island is open on a limited basis while repairs continue.
Ellis Island has reopened on a limited basis. Due to the nature of the destruction caused by Hurricane Sandy parts of the historic Main Building and museum, including most of the exhibits, remain closed at this time. More »
Oral Histories for Your Classroom
This collection of oral history excerpts is from the Ellis Island Oral History Collection, which includes approximately 2,000 full interviews. The following audio clips (with accompanying transcripts) have been specifically selected to be useful in your classroom, either as part of a lesson plan from this website or integrated into your curriculum. For your convenience, both the audio file and the transcript can be accessed online and also downloaded and saved for use later without needing to be connected to the internet.
Trying New Foods
Traveling to America
Experience at Ellis Island
Holding onto Homeland Traditions
Adjusting to Life in America
Looking for ideas on how to utilize these oral histories in your classroom?
The Library of Congress' Using Primary Sources page for teachers contains steps for using primary sources in the classroom, teacher's guides, analysis tools, and other helpful information for teachers.
The National Archives' Getting Started with Primary Sources in the Classroom page for teachers contains information and resources about using primary sources, resources for National History Day, and links to "Today's Document" and "DocsTeach" online resources.
If you have any suggestions for other Oral History topics you would like to see available on this page, please e-mail us.
Did You Know?
When Ellis Island was opened in 1892, the facility bore little resemblance to the Renaissance Revival/Beaux Arts structure that people have come to know today. Made out of Georgia pine, the complex caught fire on June 15, 1897 and burned to the ground in about 6 hours. The current building was opened on December 17, 1900.