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 »
Ellis Island Museum Collection Moved to a Stable Environment
Contact: Linda Friar, 786-385-0067
New York, NY - Ellis Island Immigration Museum remains closed due to severe damage to infrastructure on the island from Hurricane Sandy. "Though the Museum collection was not harmed during or after the storm, we are unable to maintain a climate-controlled environment critical to protecting the many significant historical artifacts in the collection. To protect these items and facilitate work toward repairing damaged infrastructure on Ellis Island, we have decided to temporarily move the Ellis Island Immigration Museum collection to an offsite National Park Service facility," said Superintendent Dave Luchsinger.
Over the past few weeks staff at Ellis Island, with support of the NPS Museum Emergency Response Team, carefully wrapped and boxed museum items to be transported for temporary storage at the NPS Museum Resources Center in Landover, Maryland. The Museum Resources Center is run by the NPS and already holds the collection for a variety of NPS sites in the Washington, D.C. area, including the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.
The Museum Emergency Response Team consists of NPS curatorial specialists from around the country who have moved large museum collections in the past. Since there is no electrical power at Ellis Island, items are being moved by hand down three flights of stairs.
The Ellis Island Museum Collection complements the history of one of America's iconic treasures. The collection holds over one million items, including both archival documents and historic artifacts. The collection will be available to researchers on a limited basis at its temporary location.
The Mutter Museum collection, located in the Ferry Building at Ellis Island, has already been moved to Harpers Ferry Conservation Center for assessment and treatment by the NPS. At this time, Ellis Island and State of Liberty remain closed to visitors while NPS staff and contractors stabilize conditions on the two islands. The historic collection will remain offsite until utilities have been restored and items can be stored in a stable, climate-controlled environment, as they were in the past.
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".