• Immigrants awaiting inspection in front of Ellis Island's Main Building

    Ellis Island

    Part of Statue of Liberty National Monument NJ,NY

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  • 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 remain closed at this time. The museum's artifacts remain in off-site storage. More »

History & Culture

Welcome to Ellis Island!

From 1892 to 1924, Ellis Island was America's largest and most active immigration station, where over 12 million immigrants were processed. On average, the inspection process took approximately 3-7 hours. For the vast majority of immigrants, Ellis Island truly was an "Island of Hope" - the first stop on their way to new opportunities and experiences in America. For the rest, it became the "Island of Tears" - a place where families were separated and individuals were denied entry into this country.


Meet some of the "PEOPLE" who helped to make up the story of Ellis Island such as the workers who kept Ellis Island running, and helped immigrants make their way into America.


The "PLACES" in Ellis Island's timeline show us how people have utilized this speck of land in New York Harbor for hundreds of years.


The "STORIES" of Ellis Island's 'unsung' immigrants speak to all of us. Read some of these stories here.


Our extensive "COLLECTIONS" help us learn about the histories of both Ellis and Liberty Islands through tangible objects.


Here are additional resources to learn more about immigration.


A Bibliography of books about Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty.

Did You Know?

Ellis Island's Distinctive Facade and Towers

Although Ellis Island is federal property and has always been historically considered in New York, the U.S. Supreme Court appointed a "Special Master" to mediate. The ruling in 1998 determined that the original island belongs to New York and the rest of the island, added after 1834, belongs to New Jersey.