History & Culture

Boat letting passengers off 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.

Black and White photo of surgeons in operating room at Ellis Island.

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.

Broken windows at Contagious Disease Ward with photos of immigrants on the broken windows.

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.

Black and White photo of immigrants glued on wall at Ellis Island.

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

Artifacts from Ellis Island on cart.

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: February 4, 2018

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

Ellis Island National Museum of Immigration
Statue of Liberty National Monument

New York, NY 10004


(212) 363-3200

Contact Us