Tenement Museum

Tenement Museum The Tenement Museum tells the true stories of American immigrant and migrant families through recreated apartments in historic tenement buildings constructed in New York's historic Lower East Side.
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We are currently open on Fridays-Sundays for Neighborhood Walking Tours, and to visit our Museum Shop. We are still hosting virtual programming and virtual tours of our historic tenement building. You can view our upcoming schedule on tenement.org to learn more. If you're interested in promoting your project via our social media network, please email [email protected]. Our community agreement: Be respectful of the memories the Museum preserves.

Operating as usual

Happy Easter from the Tenement Museum! This is a "Pysanka" - a Ukrainian Easter tradition, shared with us by R.S. S. on ...
04/04/2021

Happy Easter from the Tenement Museum! This is a "Pysanka" - a Ukrainian Easter tradition, shared with us by R.S. S. on Your Story, Our Story. "My family was from the Carpathian Mountain Range, and where they lived is now part of Ukraine," they wrote. "We have celebrated Easter and Christmas with the entire family for years, and continue the tradition... Pysanka... uses hot wax placed on an empty egg to make decorations. The egg is then dipped in dye, the wax melted off, and we add more wax to create another pattern." What family traditions are you maintaining today?

https://yourstory.tenement.org/stories/pysanka-easter-egg-decoration

04/03/2021
Leslie Harris: Black New Yorkers and Immigrant History

Leslie Harris, a historian and scholar of African American Studies, explains how newly arriving immigrants in the 19th century were entering a country embattled with racism and racial tensions, and that these were issues they couldn’t be isolated from, in this sneak peek from our virtual gala on April 29.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cd7VOZiOMA0

Leslie Harris, a historian and scholar of African American Studies, explains how newly arriving immigrants in the 19th century were entering a country embatt...

03/31/2021
Two Joseph Moores in New York City

A long time ago in 1869, there lived two Joseph Moores – both waiters, living in different spaces of New York City. One was an Irish immigrant, and his story is shared on our Irish Outsiders tour and our virtual Moore family tour. The other was a Black man who lived in Lower Manhattan. We need to tell his story, too.

We are excited to announce the development of a new permanent exhibit inside our flagship historic tenement building at 97 Orchard Street, exploring the lives of Black New Yorkers in the 19th century, through the recreated home of this Joseph Moore, who moved to Manhattan in the 1860s. At our virtual gala on April 29, you will discover how we’re bringing this period of time and the story of Joseph Moore to life! https://www.tenement.org/rebuild-retell-renew/#retell

On the last day of #WomensHistoryMonth, lets look at Rose Schneiderman, an influential and prolific labor organizer and ...
03/31/2021

On the last day of #WomensHistoryMonth, lets look at Rose Schneiderman, an influential and prolific labor organizer and political activist who immigrated from Poland 1890 and lived in the Lower East Side. Organizing the first women's chapter of the United Cloth, Hat, and Millinery Union at the age of 16, Rose would go on to help lead the famous Uprising of the 20,000 in 1909 and become one of the leading voices demanding the reform of working conditions in the wake of the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire. The phrase “Bread and Roses” - the right of workers to more than subsistence wages - came from one of her famous speeches and became a rallying cry for the labor movement that still resonates today.

In the 1970s, the Lower East Side was full of abandoned, rubble strewn lots, a sign of the economic devastation of the f...
03/30/2021

In the 1970s, the Lower East Side was full of abandoned, rubble strewn lots, a sign of the economic devastation of the financial crisis and widespread disinvestment in the neighborhood. To combat urban blight, LES resident Liz Christy formed the Green Guerillas, an activist group that began beautifying empty lots by throwing packets of seeds and fertilizer over fences and between construction debris. In 1974, Christy led volunteers to reclaim a vacant lot on Bowery and Houston streets, clearing out garbage and building planters for flowers, fruits, and vegetables. Christy’s activism became the model for a city-wide community garden movement. Today there are over 550 active community gardens in the city, with the most on the Lower East Side. To learn more about the LES in the 1970s and the history of community organizing in the neighborhood, join our How Build a Neighborhood virtual tour! https://www.tenement.org/tour/how-to-build-a-neighborhood/

Happy Passover from the Tenement Museum! As families set another virtual seder or gather for the first time in a long ti...
03/28/2021

Happy Passover from the Tenement Museum! As families set another virtual seder or gather for the first time in a long time, the holidays are a time to think about the traditions that persevere, whether it's long-held recipes or objects passed through generations, like this hand-stitched matzah holder from 1909, submitted to Your Story, Our Story by Isabel. "It’s cool to know that although I’ll never.... know much about my history," she wrote, "we’ll always have the same seder traditions my family has had for 108 years."

03/25/2021
Virtual - Piecing It Together: Tenements, Factories & Unions

#LIVENOW - Piecing It Together: Tenements, Factories & Unions, exploring the lasting impact of the tragedy of the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire, the women who worked in New York’s garment industry, and how they effected change. Join us on YouTube Live! https://youtu.be/o3JDzNdilWY

On the 110th anniversary of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire, join us on March 25 at 7:00pm ET for a virtual program exploring the tragedy's lasting impa...

#OTD in 1911, a fire consumed the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory, killing 146 people. Many of the workers who lost their li...
03/25/2021

#OTD in 1911, a fire consumed the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory, killing 146 people. Many of the workers who lost their lives were young immigrant women from Italy and Eastern Europe. Occurring in a period of increasing union activism and growing awareness of poor factory conditions in New York, the disaster galvanized public support for workplace safety laws and other worker protections. The Triangle Shirtwaist Fire forever changed working conditions and labor relations in the United States. Although often remembered as victims of neglect and tragic circumstances, the 146 people who died in the fire were also memorialized as martyrs and heroes of the labor movement in speeches, songs, and obituaries. On this day we honor their memory and the enduring legacy of immigrants in the struggle for worker rights and respectability in the United States.

03/24/2021
Virtual: How to Build a Neighborhood - Tenement Museum

Tonight at 7pm ET, explore 200 years of Lower East Side architecture and navigate questions of how land should be used, what housing should look like, and what a community needs on our Virtual Walking Tour: How to Build a Neighborhood! Register now at https://www.tenement.org/tour/how-to-build-a-neighborhood/?tour_date=2021-03-24

Join us for a virtual walking tour exploring the history of the Lower East Side through its architecture over the course of 200 years.

03/23/2021
Book Talk:  Mango and Peppercorns

#LIVE NOW: Virtual Book Talk - MANGO AND PEPPERCORNS with authors Tung Nguyen, Katherine Manning, and Lyn Nguyen. Join us now on YouTube Live! https://youtu.be/mugktfgDbKU

Join us on March 23 for a free virtual talk with Tung Nguyen, Katherine Manning, and Lyn Nguyen, the authors of "Mango and Peppercorns: A Memoir of Food, an ...

What did Black women’s activism look like in the 19th Century? Maritcha Lyons, educator and activist, worked on behalf o...
03/22/2021

What did Black women’s activism look like in the 19th Century? Maritcha Lyons, educator and activist, worked on behalf of Black women and communities starting in the 1870s. Growing up within the elite Black community of Lower Manhattan, she and her family fled the city after a white mob attacked their home during the Draft Riots of 1863.

Lyons eventually settled in Weeksville, Brooklyn, and worked for 30 years as a teacher and assistant principal at PS83, becoming one of the first Black teachers to train other educators in public schools.

A prolific and dedicated activist, Lyons was instrumental in bringing Ida B. Wells’ anti-lynching campaign to New York City, and focusing local community attention on this national issue.

In the 1890s, she co-founded with Victoria Earle Matthews the White Rose Mission, an organization to help arriving Black women from the South and the Caribbean get started in New York City. After seeing other settlement houses and realizing they weren’t serving Black women, they started their own. Lyons’ work highlights the long, rich history of Black women advocating for and supporting each other. #WomensHistoryMonth

In November of 1909, 20,000 garment workers took to the streets in the largest strike of women up to that point. Many wo...
03/19/2021

In November of 1909, 20,000 garment workers took to the streets in the largest strike of women up to that point. Many wore massive hats decorated with feathers and flowers that carried more meaning than simply being fashionable.

“We’re human, all of us girls, and we’re young. We like new hats as well as any other young women,” said Clara Lemlich in an interview with the New York Evening Journal, following her speech that had inspired what would come to be known as the Uprising of 20,000. The hats were a symbol of their labor having value and their lives existing beyond the confines of the factory, and the Uprising was just the beginning.

Learn more about the fundamental role women played in shaping the labor movement throughout history on our upcoming program on March 25, Piecing It Together: Tenements, Factories & Unions - register now!

https://www.tenement.org/events/piecing-it-together-tenements-factories-unions/

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day from the Tenement Museum! First held in 1762 the Saint Patrick’s Day Parade in New York City i...
03/17/2021

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day from the Tenement Museum! First held in 1762 the Saint Patrick’s Day Parade in New York City is the nations’ oldest and world’s largest Saint Patrick’s Day celebration. For generations the parade has served as a way for Irish immigrants and Irish-Americans to honor their culture, identity, and history. Today we remember Jane Moore, the American born daughter of Irish immigrants Bridget and Joseph Moore. During Jane’s childhood in the Lower East Side, Saint Patrick’s Day celebrations along with other expressions of Irish identity were treated with hostility and derision by many Americans. Over her lifetime, however, Jane would see the parade become a powerful force in the Irish struggle for rights and representation. Learn more about Jane’s story and celebrate the holiday with our specialty virtual Moore family tour, tonight at 7pm ET!
https://www.tenement.org/tour/virtual-tour-moore-family/?tour_date=2021-03-17

03/16/2021
Book Talk: The Fight for Free Speech

#LIVENOW Virtual Book Talk: The Fight for Free Speech with author Ian Rosenberg! Join us on YouTube Live: https://youtu.be/T1kSH8bXX5Q

Join us on March 16 for a free virtual talk with Ian Rosenberg, author of "The Fight for Free Speech: Ten Cases That Define Our First Amendment Freedoms", in...

03/13/2021
Preserving 97 Orchard Street for the Next 150 Years

Over the years, we have shared our preservation work with you – the secrets found beneath the floorboards, the stories uncovered under layers of wallpaper. Since the Museum’s beginnings, we have been working to restore, strengthen, update, build, and rebuild our historic tenements, ensuring these 19th century buildings survive well into the 21st century. Check out some of our past preservation projects, and then register for our virtual gala on April 29, where you will get a behind-the-scenes look as we stabilize our tenements and begin construction on a new permanent apartment exhibit.

https://www.tenement.org/rebuild-retell-renew/

Join us on St. Patrick's Day for a special tour series! In the 19th century, the St. Patrick's Day Parade was an opportu...
03/11/2021

Join us on St. Patrick's Day for a special tour series! In the 19th century, the St. Patrick's Day Parade was an opportunity for Irish immigrant to unite. At a time when the Irish faced much discrimination, parents like Joseph and Bridget Moore could use the holiday and its festivities to instill their children with cultural pride and strength. Learn more about the importance of the New York City St. Patrick's Day Parade for Irish immigrants on our specialty virtual Moore family tours from March 13-17. Register now!

https://www.tenement.org/tour/virtual-tour-moore-family/

03/10/2021
Autobiography of the LES: Tenement Talk from May, 2015

Rashidah Ismaili, a celebrated poet, playwright, and essayist, lived and worked for many years on the Lower East Side. Now based in Harlem, she was part of the burgeoning Black Arts Movement downtown in the late 1960s, when Black artists, writers, musicians, and poets fashioned a new, global community creating work by and for people of African descent. Check out Ismaili’s conversation at the Tenement Museum about her book, "Autobiography of the Lower East Side." #WomensHistoryMonth
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LxaPc4-WYbw&list=PLa3_0AdUznG2XbAweZC4weIwuuFlAPpza&index=39

The Umbra Workshop is considered the spark for the Black Arts movement of the 1960s. Hear about this short-lived Lower East Side artists’ collective from awa...

From strikers to politicos, from advocates to activists, the Lower East Side women have a long history of leading moveme...
03/08/2021

From strikers to politicos, from advocates to activists, the Lower East Side women have a long history of leading movements for social, cultural, and political change. On #InternationalWomensDay, revisit our digital exhibit TENEMENT WOMEN: AGENTS OF CHANGE
https://www.tenement.org/tenement-women-agents-of-change/

Mrs. Wong spent most of her life in America working in the garment industry -- making clothes for work, for her children...
03/04/2021

Mrs. Wong spent most of her life in America working in the garment industry -- making clothes for work, for her children, and even the dress she wore for her Naturalization ceremony. "“The letter that told me to go to the swearing-in said I had to wear a dress," she told us in an oral history. "I made the dress myself. I went to the garment factory and made myself a dress. Ha-ha! I don’t remember [the color] any more. It was very cute, so I remember that.”

Learn more on the life of Mrs. Wong, and the story of how Chinese immigration forever altered the fabric of New York City, tomorrow at 6pm ET for the launch of our latest virtual family tour! #WomensHistoryMonth

https://www.tenement.org/tour/virtual-wong-family/?tour_date=2021-03-04

03/03/2021
Virtual: Rogarshevsky Family - Tenement Museum

See how immigrant families balanced their traditions with working outside the home at garment factories across the city in the early 20th century with our virtual Rogarshevsky Family tour! Tonight at 7pm ET, tickets are $10/device
https://www.tenement.org/tour/virtual-tour-rogarshevsky-family/?tour_date=2021-03-03

Join us for a virtual tour exploring the Rogarshevsky family, a Jewish American family from Lithuania who lived in 97 Orchard Street in the 1910s.

A focal point of the Saez-Velez family living room was the TV. José remembers hooking up the tv to a "little box" in ord...
03/02/2021

A focal point of the Saez-Velez family living room was the TV. José remembers hooking up the tv to a "little box" in order to get two Spanish channels for his mother to watch, "Which was good because that kept you bilingual. You learned your English in school and in the streets, and your parents would talk to you in Spanish." That tv turned out to be an important way to stay connected to part of their Puerto Rican heritage through the Spanish language. Learn more about the Puerto Rican migrant experience in the 1960s and 70s on our virtual tour! https://www.tenement.org/tour/virtual-saez-velez-family/

02/27/2021

Join us on April 29 for our first ever virtual gala! By hosting this event online, we are able to open this evening to our entire Tenement Museum community. You will get a behind-the-scenes look at our new permanent exhibit exploring Black history in Lower Manhattan, as well as an in-depth look at the ongoing preservation of our beloved historic tenement buildings. This year, you can join at the traditional gala price, make a more modest donation, or even watch the program for free. Register now!

https://www.tenement.org/gala/

In partnership with the American Indian Community House, we are highlighting five Native artists whose work reflects bot...
02/22/2021
Arts as Culture: Native American Artists - Tenement Museum

In partnership with the American Indian Community House, we are highlighting five Native artists whose work reflects both their histories and contemporary stories, representing a thriving and diverse community of Native Peoples in New York.
https://www.tenement.org/blog/arts-as-culture-native-american-artists/

The Wickquasgeck Trail, worn by the Lenape People over hills, through pine, oak, and chestnut woods, across open plains and fast waterways (a natural landscape that seems unimaginable on today’s gridlocked mountain of concrete and steel), stretched 13 miles from the southern tip of Manahatta to up...

Nearly a decade after the landmark ruling of Brown v. Board of Education, a system of de facto segregation still plagued...
02/16/2021

Nearly a decade after the landmark ruling of Brown v. Board of Education, a system of de facto segregation still plagued the New York City public school system. Schools in the Lower East Side with large Black and Hispanic student populations suffered from underfunding, overcrowding, and a lack of resources enjoyed by public schools in wealthier, whiter neighborhoods. Many students and teachers in LES schools joined the fight against school segregation during the 1960s and 70s, including taking part in a citywide protest on February 3rd 1964 demanding school integration. With nearly half a million students boycotting classes and joining marches organized across the city, the Freedom Day protest for educational equality was one of the largest civil rights demonstrations of the 1960s. #BlackHistoryMonth

📸 : School on the Lower East Side, c. 1970s. Courtesy of Allan Silverman, Tenement Museum Collection

Save the date for our most epic virtual program ever! This year's virtual gala on April 29 will include a sneak peek of ...
02/13/2021

Save the date for our most epic virtual program ever! This year's virtual gala on April 29 will include a sneak peek of our new permanent exhibit exploring Black history in Lower Manhattan, and a behind the scenes look at the ongoing stabilization of our historic tenement buildings, featuring the architects, engineers and specialists who work to ensure that our 19th century historic buildings remain strong and accessible well into the 21st century. Tickets will be available soon. More info at tenement.org/gala

Address

103 Orchard St
New York, NY
10002

B or D to Grand Street F to Delancey Street or JMZ to Essex Street M15 Buses

Opening Hours

Monday 11:00 - 16:00
Tuesday 11:00 - 16:00
Wednesday 11:00 - 16:00
Thursday 11:00 - 16:00
Friday 11:00 - 16:00
Saturday 11:00 - 04:00

Telephone

(212) 982-8420

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Comments

Just went on a virtual tour with these guys and it was wonderful!! Totally worth it. Thank you so much for all the rich history and the great stories.
Here's an amazing story of bravery and heroism. Having visited the Tenement museum I can imagine the fear these folks must have had as they tried to escape the flames and smoke in the dark, cramped conditions of their tenement building.
Great article, Danielle Wetmore!
Do you all know about this very interesting National Trust property of workers' houses in Birmingham?
LOL one of your emails was in the spam folder of a Verge journo the day they filmed this video!
If you haven't been to this museum, It's amazing, and I wish I lived closer to NYC so I could go again, and often.
Thanks for buying our little chamber pot. That is such a silly thing to type. 😃
Hello to the kind folks at the Tenement Museum. My family and I did the sweatshop tour in February and loved it. The guide, whose name I didn't catch - a young person with short blond hair, I think they had initials in their first name - was fantastic. My 12 year old son Adam had to write a poem this week for his English class and was inspired by our visit to your museum. He wanted to illustrate disparities in wealth. Hope you like it. I walk upstairs in my tenement, enter my apartment and collapse on my bed. The hinges squeak as I close the rusty door. It's a pretty beat up room, but I don't mind, I've seen the ones in the basement. Lots of people have pushed for renovations, myself included. But the landlord says no. After all, he hasn’t seen the basement. But when I look out my window I can also see the skyscrapers I seem to always feel a pang of jealousy But I also wonder If they can see me At all
Mom and I went to the Tenement Museum (my 2nd time) where a young actress played a Ladino speaking Italian (a Spanish Yiddish dialect) living in a slum building in 1917. Boy was it fascinating! I had never heard of Ladino until Saturday. This is the best little Museum in NYC and many, many people agree. After Ellis Island, this is the next step in the long immigrant history.
I’ve visited the Tenement Museum this summer and found it fascinating. Almost, but not quite, as fascinating as the Coal Miners Museum in Glace Bay, Nova Scotia. You are taken into a coal mine that extends out underneath the ocean. It’s cold and it’s dark and it’s wet, and you are hunched over trying to navigate to the next room and your guide is an 82-year-old former miner whose uncle was killed during a strike in the 1920s. When you go outside there are four buildings that were the original company store and three original homes that the miners and their families lived in. Pretty soon there won’t be any of these old guys left to do the tours and then I don’t know what will happen to the museum. But it’s a gem for anybody interested in the history of the working class and the growth of unionized. There are a million reasons to visit Cape Breton, but this one should be top of your list!
Interesting visit when you are in NYC.
“America”, originally was a reference used to describe the New World. We took a family trip to the Tenement Museum yesterday. Though missing a few family members, the day was splendid!!! We took the “Under One Roof” tour; a newer tour which displays living styles of three immigrant families: Puerto Rican, Chinese and Polish. These families immigrated to New York, settling in the lower East Side from 1951 up to 2014, independent of each other. Our tour guide, Jakob, gave us in depth insight to each resident family’s experience as shared by a family member who grew up there, and through their narrative, both visual and audio, it brought the ‘tourist’ back into that time to witness each family’s process of acclimation. We also were also taken to a room that was a small replica of a garment sweatshop where the Chinese family worked. That exhibit provided the tourist with narratives of the Wong family experiences as they settled in. The experience for me was heartwarming and learned, and brought me back to a time that I grew up in, but not necessarily personally experienced as a second generation immigrant. The tour was interactive thus I was able to relate to the struggles of these first generation immigrants as well as share personal anecdotal stories connecting to some of their experiences. Throughout the tour, and all through their immigrating experiences, the growth of their families and their personal struggles to successfully acclimate to this country, sadly, it was a painful recognition that time has stood still; relatively unchanged insofar as the perception and reaction to immigration is concerned. I don’t know where the citizens of this country think their roots emanated, because clearly, we are a nation of immigrants, unless of course, you are a Native American. Thanks Jakob for enriching our experience!!!