History & Culture

Immigrants disembarking at Ellis Island

Historic Immigration Station

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 the United States.

Three men stand around an inspector's desk

Meet some of the "PEOPLE" who helped create the story of Ellis Island. Many government workers, as well as detained immigrants, kept Ellis Island running so new arrivals could make their way into America.

Ellis great hall before restoration

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

Woman seated holding infant surrounded by three standing girls

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

Teddy Bear, Inspecotor's hat, five pair small children's shoes and pile of white gloves sit on a table top

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


Additional Resources

Ellis Island- Chronology
Ellis Island- Bibliography


Last updated: May 8, 2018

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Contact Info

Mailing Address:

Receiving Office
1 Ellis Island

Jersey City, NJ 07305


212 363-3200

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