Island of Hope, Island of Tears

How far would you travel to find a better life? What if the journey took weeks under difficult conditions?  If you answered "Whatever it takes," you echo the feelings of the 12 million immigrants who passed through these now quiet halls from 1892 to 1954. Ellis Island afforded them the opportunity to attain the American dream for themselves and their descendants. Come hear their stories.

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Take a Hard-Hat Tour of the South Side

Guided 90-minute tours (by advance reservation only) will take visitors ages 13 and older to select areas of the 750-bed Ellis Island Hospital.

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Introductory Screen of Virtual Tour

See Seldom Seen Spaces... Virtually

Take the interactive virtual tour of the South Side of the island and see high resolution spherical images and historical data. Explore now!

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Rangers with a school group in the Great Hall

New onsite Field Trip Activities

Teachers are you planning a field trip and need ideas of what to do with your students? Let us help with onsite activities that we have created.

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Historic photo and manifests of two young men who immigrated in 1910.

Primary Sources in Your Classroom

Listen to oral history excerpts and learn about finding manifests and using primary sources with your students.

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Passport photo of Vera Clarke (right; married name Ifill) with sister Edna and nephew Ernest. Vera immigrated from Barbados in 1921 to join her parents in New York City.

Looking for Your Ancestors?

Here are some helpful hints and a list of resources to help you in your search!

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A U.S. Park Police vessel crashed into a temporary building in the back of Ellis Island.

Hurricane Sandy Recovery

The storm damaged our electrical, water, sewage and phone systems much more than our historic resources. Slowly but surely, we repair and restore.

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Did You Know?