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Ellis Island museum or Tenement museum?

Kettering, United...
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Ellis Island museum or Tenement museum?

We will have about 5 days in NYC and there is so much we want to do. In light of the Statue being closed, the deciding factor would be whether or not to take the time to do Ellis island, or take the Staten Island ferry to see the statue and do the Tenement museum instead. We are travelling with our girls who will be 13 and 15 and have no ancestral link to Ellis island, so what would be best for us??

new york city
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1. Re: Ellis Island museum or Tenement museum?

I happen to think that Ellis island even without access inside the statue (you can still go to the island and get up close and personal with the lady) is one of the best things to do in NYC--- that said the Tenement museum which is walking through a restored house and having a guide talk about the people who lived there is also quite educational and enjoyable so my answer would be to plan on doing both. Either would be much more valuable than some of the other things i am sure based on experience are on your bucket list.

Brooklyn, NY
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2. Re: Ellis Island museum or Tenement museum?

I love the Ellis Island Museum. America was built by immigration, and Ellis Island really captures what it was like. Then, it was where my family came to the US.

That said, the Tenement Museum is a different story. They focus on the lives of families from different periods of time, all who lived in this building. The apartments are furnished as they would be for those families. It is a good view of the daily lives of poor and working class NYers.

Another thing to consider is transportation and closeness to attractions. Ellis Island requires advance tickets, a long security line and is a bit of a schlep. The Tenement Museum is in the Lower East Side and could easily be combined with places like Chinatown, Economy Candy, the trendy East Village and other kid pleasing adventures.

England
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3. Re: Ellis Island museum or Tenement museum?

I would say if you can both because ellis island shows how the people came to america and then the Tenement shows how they lives. If you had to do ne I would recommend the Tenement as i think your children may find it more intereactive

Milwaukee, Wisconsin
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4. Re: Ellis Island museum or Tenement museum?

I agree with the other posters: both museums are definitely worth your time and very interesting, but the logistics make the Tenement Museum easier.

Kettering, United...
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5. Re: Ellis Island museum or Tenement museum?

Thanks everyone...we have a map up with pins in it, so we can work out some sort of itinerary. I would like to do both, but with Ellis Island taking up to 5 hours according to reviews that's almost a day in itself, but perhaps we could combine that with the 9/ll memorial (which we have 10am tickets for already)

New York City, New...
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for Yucatan Peninsula
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6. Re: Ellis Island museum or Tenement museum?

Ellis Island.

The characterization about the tenement house above (walking through a restored house) isnt really accurate. You visit 1 apartment. Each apartment has a theme or cultural difference. The Irish family, the Sephardic Jewish family who does piece work at home, etc.

The program is supposed to be interactive - at least in the apt. we visited. The "guide" is in period clothing and you're supposed to ask questions to get information about what it was like to live during that time. If you have a group knowledgeable about the immigrant experience it's fine, but most people are visitors from out of state and they dont. My friend and I (the only locals) were the only ones communicating with the guide with long periods of silence. We felt it was our jobs to get information out of her.

suitcaseready.com

New York City, New...
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7. Re: Ellis Island museum or Tenement museum?

To clarify evening New York's comment, you do not only see one apartment. On each tour, you visit 2 restored apartments from 2 different time periods. This illustrates how 2 families that lived in different times dealt with similar issues (i.e., economic crisis in the country, garment industry conditions, etc.). Plus, you see a "ruin" apartment that shows you the condition of the building when the founder of the museum first discovered it. The tour that they are referring to is the Meet Victoria program, which is the only costumed interpretation program at the museum and is more targeted for younger audiences. The others are all led by an educator or guide in street clothes talking directly to the visitors.

Virginia
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8. Re: Ellis Island museum or Tenement museum?

We didn't really spend a lot of time at the Ellis Island Museum.

It was fun to go upstairs in the big hall but after a while we got tired of being in the smaller tiny rooms which served different purposes for medical exams, trials, etc.

However, visiting liberty island was totally worth it (we climbed the crown last new years day). Those who say you can see the statue just fine by the staten island ferry don't know what they are missing!

Nothing like being right up close. It's a world heritage sight, and the United States doesn't have a lot of those.

Edited: 27 October 2011, 22:34
9. Re: Ellis Island museum or Tenement museum?

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