Ellis Island Immigration Museum
Like New York City itself, the Ellis Island Immigration Museum is unique in many respects. Scholars and historians have written and will continue to write about the story of American immigration. The Ellis Island Immigration Museum, however makes the story come alive in a way that pages of a book simply cannot recreate. From the moment you step off the ferry, you can feel the emotion from the millions of immigrants that walked the same path to the same door on the same island. Each family historian will look at the history of Ellis Island and view the Ellis Island Immigration Museum through the eyes of an individual ancestor. Perhaps this is what makes the museum such a powerful experience for more then two million visitors annually.
In April 2001, The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation, working in conjunction with the National Park Service of the United States Department of the Interior, opened a major new extension of this museum that forever changed immigration research and made it possible — for the first time — for tens-of-millions of Americans to easily connect with their immigrant ancestors.
Wednesday, April 17, 1907
It was a Wednesday in 1907 like so many others, yet like none other before or since.
Theodore Roosevelt & Charles W. Fairbanks were the American President and Vice President at the time. The ships came from a variety of busy foreign ports — Havre, Copenhagen, Rotterdam, Liverpool, Naples, St. Michaels, and Colon. The ship names have been all but forgotten, relegated to history books and Web sites — La Gascogne, United States, Nieuw Amsterdam, Carmania, Republic, and Allianca — but for the passengers preparing to disembark at Ellis Island, these names would forever be part of their American family history.
On this Wednesday, Ellis Island processed a record 11,747 immigrants. That number stands as a record to this day as the largest number of immigrants processed in a single day for arrival into the United States. The Ellis Island Immigration Museum brings to life the stories of all these immigrants, regardless of their ethnicity.
For each immigrant, the story is unique — yet for so many descendants, the common experience is what ties America together despite being a 'Nation of Immigrants'.
The Melting Pot
The Ellis Island Immigration Museum provides interesting information and unique displays about various aspects of immigration. Although Ellis Island didn't open until January 1892, many American families associate Ellis Island as the universal symbol of arrival to the United States. Whether your family came through Castle Garden (1855 to 1890), the New York Barge Office, Angel Island on the West coast or an of a number of large or lesser known ports — we all share the experience of arrival and assimilation.
In the year 2000, as the entire world was celebrating a new millennium, the United States Census Bureau was busy conducting a decennial enumeration of the American population as they had done since 1790. One aspect of this census helps us better understand the concept of 'melting pot' as Americans reported on their foreign ancestries. The details follow in the table below:
- German — 46.4 million
- Irish — 33.0 million
- English — 28.2 million
- Italian — 15.9 million
- French — 9.7 million
- Polish — 9.0 million
- Scottish — 5.4 million
- Scotch-Irish — 5.2 million
- Dutch — 5.2 million
- Norwegian — 4.5 million
On this page, we've tried to share our views on the Ellis Island Immigration Museum, as well as a little about American Immigration History which is discussed in greater detail elsewhere on this site. We strongly encourage you to visit Ellis Island, either in person or online so you can experience for yourself why this is one of the most popular of all National Park Service destinations in America.