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 and both elevators, remain closed at this time. More »
While at the Park
We want you and your students to have a fantastic visit to Ellis Island.
The Main Building, where most visitors spend most of their time, has three floors of exhibits about the history of the island and immigration a century ago. Outside are walkways, areas to eat, and wonderful views of the Statue of Liberty and the New York City skyline. With so much to see, visiting Ellis Island can take minutes, hours, or even an entire day.
The following are suggestions for visiting based on how much time you and your students have on Ellis Island.
Less than 30 minutes
Walk down the Stairs of Separation, read the brass plaque that explains why the stairs are separated, and notice the wear on these original stairs. At the bottom of the Stairs of Separation, make sure to turn left to return to the Baggage Room and the museum exit.
Less than 1 hour
Proceed to the southwest corner of the Registry Room/Great Hall and visit "Through America's Gate," an exhibit chonicling the immigrant experience at Ellis Island.
Less than 2 hours
Visit the third level east exhibit area. First explore "Treasures from Home," a collection of belongings that immigrants brought from their homelands.
Then, choose ONE of the following:
Less than 3 hours
Visit the Dormitory Room and view additional historic photographs of the Registry Room/Great Hall along the Balcony on the third level.
Proceed to the east side of the second level and visit "Peak Immigration Years," an exhibit revealing the challenges of immigrating to the United States a century ago.
More than 3 hours
We hope this helps as you plan and enjoy your visit to Ellis Island!
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.