Labor Day-Memorial Day: daily, 9am-5pm; Memorial Day-Labor Day: daily, 7:30am-7pm
$12, $10 seniors, $5 children 4-12; free for children under 4
American Express, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
Forty percent of Americans can trace at least one family member back to the Ellis Island immigration depot. In fact, between 1892 and 1954, more than 12 million immigrants fleeing European plights like the Irish Potato Famine, were processed through the island after their long trip across the Atlantic Ocean. In celebration of the depot’s centennial in 1992, the Beaux Arts style main building on Ellis Island was restored and the Ellis Island Immigration Museum was opened. The three floors housed inside the brick and limestone walls of the main building now recreate the immigration inspection experience for museum guests. The typical self-guided tour can take a few hours and begins in the baggage room, where immigrants started the immigration process. Next stop: the hearing rooms, where individual cases were considered and the futures of families decided. To experience the tight quarters that were a part of the Ellis Island passage, visit the medical suites and bunkrooms. First-hand oral accounts of more than 1,500 Ellis Island immigrants and island workers (doctors, nurses, and immigration officers) can be heard at 20 listening stations. The Treasures from Home exhibit on the third floor displays more than 1,000 photos and artifacts carried to America by Ellis Island immigrants.Wall of Honor
Located on the northeast corner of the island, this wall is inscribed with the names of immigrants who have been honored by their descendants. Visitors should bring along a piece of paper and a crayon to make a rubbing of their own family’s name for a poignant keepsake.
Island of Hope, Island of Tears
This award-winning immigration documentary is shown in two of the island’s three theaters and is accompanied by a 15-minute introduction by a park ranger. Call 212-363-3200 for schedules and details.
American Family Immigration History Center
Visitors can scour the passenger records of more than 25 million immigrants and crewmembers who arrived from 1892-1924 for a mention of their ancestors. Reproductions of such records and images of specific ships can be purchased for a fee.
These tours trace the steps of immigrants through the island and are available in English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, and Spanish. $8; $4 groups of 25 or more. Park Rangers offer free, intermittent guided tours.
The Ellis Island Immigration Museum can be rented out for private events. Call 212-344-0996 for details.