Part of the Statue of Liberty National Monument, Ellis Island straddles New York and New Jersey and is an important landmark of American historic heritage. In its 62 years of operation (1892-1954) as a federal immigration station, over 12 million immigrants passed through its doors and onto American soil. Both the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island stand as symbols of freedom and are therefore also are symbols of the American identity.
As you explore Ellis Island, it’s hard not to imagine yourself as one of the 12 million that passed through here, exhausted after a rough sea voyage and overwhelmed by the immigration process. You can walk through the extensive museum exhibit on your own or with a guided tour to explore the monument’s rich history. At special theatrical programs, see professional actors deliver actual immigrant accounts collected in an oral history project for the monument. The monument is a wonderful educational opportunity for the whole family.
If You Go
Over forty percent of Americans can trace their ancestry through Ellis Island’s immigration records. If you fall into the forty percent, trace your family ancestry at the American Family Immigration History Center. A unique and fun experience!