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Lower East Side Tenement Museum

About this listing

House museum presenting immigration history

Place Details

Borough : Manhattan
Neighborhood : Lower East Side
Institution, Education

Place Matters Profile

The Lower East Side Tenement Museum’s eponymous moniker can be misleading. For many people, the term ‘tenement’ is synonymous with straightforward dereliction, and the mere suggestion of an “historic house museum” conjures an experientially-limited three-hour tour designed for connoisseurs. In reality, the Lower East Side Tenement Museum transcends all of these stereotypes, just as its tours and exhibits encourage visitors to overcome many of their own. Since 1991, the museum has successfully implemented their founders’ expansive mission of promoting “tolerance and historical perspective” by engaging and educating long-time, new and temporary New Yorkers alike in the history of urban immigrant experiences. While passing through the confined spaces of 97 Orchard Street, visitors are implored to open their minds to the complexity of the lives spent in the building, and the ever-evolving nature of the way that we understand them. Although the social history of 97 Orchard Street is continually reevaluated...

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On The Web

Lower East Side Tenement Museum website

Nominations

Judy Platt

The museum recreates the apartments of people who really lived in the museum building around the early 20th century, using some of their actual possessions. These are tiny apartments where whole immigrant families lived when they first came to this country. One can almost feel their presence in the rooms.



Reva Solomon

Five restored tenement apartments with one left in decay to show how they were found and what restoration has done. Different ethnicities are represented - Jewish, Italian, Irish among them. The stories representing these families are based on historical research, and conveyed through guided tours with a docent. The docent tells the history of 97 Orchard Street in the context of the historical period in which the family lived in the tour's featured apartment. The museum recreates the apartments of people who really lived in the museum building around the early 20th century, using some of their actual possessions. These are tiny apartments where whole immigrant families lived when they first came to this country. One can almost feel their presence in the rooms. Tours discuss what was going on in the neighborhood, the city and the world, in addition to the goings-on of the tenement itself.

This place matters because it preserves the past and makes history come alive. By actually walking into these apartments there is a sense of how people lived not so long ago. Seeing their coffee cup or the tiny rooms where people often lived with lots of family members as well as worked out of gives the views something that words in a book could never convey! (June 2011)


Website : https://placematters.net/node/1313

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