• 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, including most of the exhibits and both elevators, remain closed at this time. More »

Silent Voices - A Landmark Restored

1954-Present
 
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A view of the abandoned Registry Room in the Main Immigration Building.
National Park Service, Statue of Liberty NM
 

In November 1954, the Immigration and Naturalization Service closed down their offices on Ellis Island and moved to a new location in Manhattan. The need for Ellis Island had slowly diminished since 1924, when Congress instituted quota laws that drastically reduced the number of immigrants entering the United States each year. Processing of emigrant visas at American consular offices overseas further reduced the need for Ellis Island. By March of 1955, Ellis Island was declared surplus Federal property. The silent and empty immigration depot rapidly deteriorated into a ghostly complex of dilapidated buildings.

 
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Restoration work happening in the Registry Room in the Main Immigration Building.
National Park Service, Statue of Liberty NM
 

In 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed a proclamation that recognized the historical significance of Ellis Island by incorporating it into the Statue of Liberty National Monument, National Park Service. Liberty's 1986 centennial sparked an ambitious project to repair and refurbish the Statue and the Main Immigration Building on Ellis Island. The National Park Service and the Statue of Liberty - Ellis Island Foundation, with the generous help of the American people, spearheaded a restoration effort of unprecedented scale. The work was accomplished by a team of architects and artisans who spent years researching, planning, and finally restoring Ellis Island's main building to its appearance during the years 1918 to 1924.

 
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The Ellis Island Immigration Museum opened in the restored Main Building in September 1990.
National Park Service, Statue of Liberty NM
 

Did You Know?

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From 1910 to 1940, the Angel Island Immigration Station in San Francisco Bay processed approximately 1 million Asian immigrants entering into the US, leading to it sometimes being referred to as "The Ellis Island of the West". Due to the restrictions of the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, many immigrants spent years on the island, waiting for entry. Access to the island is by private boat or public ferry from San Francisco, Tiburon or Vallejo. Ferry services are reduced during the winter. More...