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 »
Primary Sources for your Classroom
Primary sources are powerful tools to help bring history alive for students. Original documents, objects, photographs, and other firsthand accounts help students better understand the past.
This collection is meant to assist you in bringing priceless primary sources about Ellis Island in to the classroom. The items available here have been specifically selected to be useful in your classroom, either as part of a lesson plan or integrated into your curriculum.
LOC's 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.
NARA's 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 primary sources you would like to see available on this page, please e-mail us.
Did You Know?
Although most immigrants processed at Ellis Island stayed between three and five hours, about 20% stayed overnight in dormitory rooms until their cases could be cleared. Many immigrants found these accommodations a big improvement over the severe conditions of traveling to America in "steerage".