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.

We are currently open on Thursdays - Tuesdays. Not in New York City? 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

TWO NIGHTS ONLY - Join us this Halloween season for a special in-person building tour of 97 Orchard Street to explore th...
10/07/2021

TWO NIGHTS ONLY - Join us this Halloween season for a special in-person building tour of 97 Orchard Street to explore the culture of clairvoyants on the Lower East Side. Crystal balls, tarot cards, and palm readings have become as popular on Halloween as jack-o’-lanterns, skeletons, and black cats. But do you know the history behind them? In the early 20th century, they were common objects found in immigrant neighborhoods, where clairvoyants and mind readers worked from tenement apartments. The services they offered were especially helpful to the other immigrant women adapting to life in America, who were seeking advice on love, health, businesses, and more.

Get your tickets now for October 28 & 29! Limited availability

https://www.tenement.org/tour/clairvoyant-housewives/

TWO NIGHTS ONLY - Join us this Halloween season for a special in-person building tour of 97 Orchard Street to explore the culture of clairvoyants on the Lower East Side. Crystal balls, tarot cards, and palm readings have become as popular on Halloween as jack-o’-lanterns, skeletons, and black cats. But do you know the history behind them? In the early 20th century, they were common objects found in immigrant neighborhoods, where clairvoyants and mind readers worked from tenement apartments. The services they offered were especially helpful to the other immigrant women adapting to life in America, who were seeking advice on love, health, businesses, and more.

Get your tickets now for October 28 & 29! Limited availability

https://www.tenement.org/tour/clairvoyant-housewives/

Thirty years ago, construction at the site of a new federal government office building in Lower Manhattan unearthed crit...
10/06/2021

Thirty years ago, construction at the site of a new federal government office building in Lower Manhattan unearthed critical clues for our city’s history. In the excavation, they uncovered the first burial ground in the city for people of African descent, both free and enslaved. Through community organizing and activism, a memorial now stands to honor the impact of people of African descent, and those thousands laid to rest here.

A 10-year research effort, and the accompanying public activism for the project, would fundamentally change New Yorkers’ understanding of enslavement in the city and the critical role that people of African descent played in the early colony and nation.

The National Park Service designated the site a National Monument in 2006. Join our partners at the African Burial Ground National Monument and the National Park Service for a week of virtual and in-person events in commemoration of this anniversary, culminating with special ceremonies, presentations, and programs this Saturday, October 9th.

Learn more at https://www.nps.gov/afbg/planyourvisit/rediscovery-30th-anniversary.htm

Thirty years ago, construction at the site of a new federal government office building in Lower Manhattan unearthed critical clues for our city’s history. In the excavation, they uncovered the first burial ground in the city for people of African descent, both free and enslaved. Through community organizing and activism, a memorial now stands to honor the impact of people of African descent, and those thousands laid to rest here.

A 10-year research effort, and the accompanying public activism for the project, would fundamentally change New Yorkers’ understanding of enslavement in the city and the critical role that people of African descent played in the early colony and nation.

The National Park Service designated the site a National Monument in 2006. Join our partners at the African Burial Ground National Monument and the National Park Service for a week of virtual and in-person events in commemoration of this anniversary, culminating with special ceremonies, presentations, and programs this Saturday, October 9th.

Learn more at https://www.nps.gov/afbg/planyourvisit/rediscovery-30th-anniversary.htm

At the turn of the last century, the Lower East Side was home to more than 1,000 people working as psychics, palm reader...
10/05/2021

At the turn of the last century, the Lower East Side was home to more than 1,000 people working as psychics, palm readers, and fortune tellers, and almost half of all of the city’s clairvoyants worked in this neighborhood. One such businesswoman, Dora Meltzer, ran her palm reading studio from 97 Orchard Street, now home to the Tenement Museum.

Join us on October 25 for a free virtual Tenement Talk on the role of clairvoyants in the world of the Jewish Lower East Side, streamed live to YouTube from inside our historic tenement building at 97 Orchard Street. RSVP now!

https://www.tenement.org/events/tenement-talk-clairvoyant-housewives-of-the-lower-east-side/

At the turn of the last century, the Lower East Side was home to more than 1,000 people working as psychics, palm readers, and fortune tellers, and almost half of all of the city’s clairvoyants worked in this neighborhood. One such businesswoman, Dora Meltzer, ran her palm reading studio from 97 Orchard Street, now home to the Tenement Museum.

Join us on October 25 for a free virtual Tenement Talk on the role of clairvoyants in the world of the Jewish Lower East Side, streamed live to YouTube from inside our historic tenement building at 97 Orchard Street. RSVP now!

https://www.tenement.org/events/tenement-talk-clairvoyant-housewives-of-the-lower-east-side/

97 Orchard Street got electricity in 1924, 34 years after New York City was first electrified. According to a former res...
09/30/2021

97 Orchard Street got electricity in 1924, 34 years after New York City was first electrified. According to a former resident that lived in the building as a kid, one morning he went to school and there was no electricity, but when he come home there was!

97 Orchard Street got electricity in 1924, 34 years after New York City was first electrified. According to a former resident that lived in the building as a kid, one morning he went to school and there was no electricity, but when he come home there was!

As a new arrival to America, where are you supposed to go first? If one was lucky, they had family waiting for them, lik...
09/29/2021

As a new arrival to America, where are you supposed to go first? If one was lucky, they had family waiting for them, like the Rogarshevskys did in 19001 and the Epsteins in 1947. But for those without family ties, settlement houses in neighborhoods like the Lower East Side, often stepped in to fill this position. These institutions helped with housing and employment, and held classes on everything one needed to get by in America, from English lessons to American cooking lessons to how to do the foxtrot.

As a new arrival to America, where are you supposed to go first? If one was lucky, they had family waiting for them, like the Rogarshevskys did in 19001 and the Epsteins in 1947. But for those without family ties, settlement houses in neighborhoods like the Lower East Side, often stepped in to fill this position. These institutions helped with housing and employment, and held classes on everything one needed to get by in America, from English lessons to American cooking lessons to how to do the foxtrot.

#LIVENOW - Virtual Book Talk with author Patrick Chura, discussing his book "Michael Gold: The People’s Writer". Join us...
09/28/2021
Book Talk - Micheal Gold: The People's Writer

#LIVENOW - Virtual Book Talk with author Patrick Chura, discussing his book "Michael Gold: The People’s Writer". Join us now on YouTube Live!

https://youtu.be/8cx-5McsWMw

Join us on September 28th for a free virtual book talk with Patrick Chura, author of “Michael Gold: The People’s Writer”, in conversation with author, journa...

Is it possible to conceive of the American diet without bagels? Or Star Trek without Mr. Spock? Are the creatures in Mau...
09/28/2021

Is it possible to conceive of the American diet without bagels? Or Star Trek without Mr. Spock? Are the creatures in Maurice Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are based on Holocaust survivors? And how has Yiddish, a language without a country, influenced Hollywood? These and other questions are explored in "How Yiddish Changed America and How America Changed Yiddish" - an anthology of the interplay of Yiddish and American culture.

Join us on October 5 for a free virtual book talk with Ilan Stavans, co-editor of "How Yiddish Changed America and How America Changed Yiddish". Register now! https://www.tenement.org/events/virtual-book-talk-how-yiddish-changed-america-and-how-america-changed-yiddish/

Is it possible to conceive of the American diet without bagels? Or Star Trek without Mr. Spock? Are the creatures in Maurice Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are based on Holocaust survivors? And how has Yiddish, a language without a country, influenced Hollywood? These and other questions are explored in "How Yiddish Changed America and How America Changed Yiddish" - an anthology of the interplay of Yiddish and American culture.

Join us on October 5 for a free virtual book talk with Ilan Stavans, co-editor of "How Yiddish Changed America and How America Changed Yiddish". Register now! https://www.tenement.org/events/virtual-book-talk-how-yiddish-changed-america-and-how-america-changed-yiddish/

Have you ever heard a story about a family's name being changed at Ellis Island? It's a common tale told in American imm...
09/27/2021

Have you ever heard a story about a family's name being changed at Ellis Island? It's a common tale told in American immigration stories, but the inspectors at Ellis Island didn't have any time for that kind of additional bureaucracy. They were often dealing with hundreds of incoming immigrants a day, so they simply checked and verified the existing documents that new arrivals brought with them. Of course, names did change over the years, but not at Ellis Island. Families sometimes changed their names at their port city before they got on their boat in hopes that it would make their transition to life in America easier. Others changed their names after arrival - sometimes more than once.

Have you ever heard a story about a family's name being changed at Ellis Island? It's a common tale told in American immigration stories, but the inspectors at Ellis Island didn't have any time for that kind of additional bureaucracy. They were often dealing with hundreds of incoming immigrants a day, so they simply checked and verified the existing documents that new arrivals brought with them. Of course, names did change over the years, but not at Ellis Island. Families sometimes changed their names at their port city before they got on their boat in hopes that it would make their transition to life in America easier. Others changed their names after arrival - sometimes more than once.

Upon arriving in New York from Puerto Rico in the early 1970s, Migdalia Mangal signed up at Solidaridad Humana for Engli...
09/22/2021

Upon arriving in New York from Puerto Rico in the early 1970s, Migdalia Mangal signed up at Solidaridad Humana for English lessons. The participatory education organization operated out of an abandoned school building that helped the growing Puerto Rican community fill gaps left in the social and educational infrastructure of New York. As well as English classes, people could receive help for resume writing and job interviews, and high school equivalency degrees. Later, CUNY and other colleges sent professors to teach in the school, making the courses more accessible. The organization also supported the students by providing supplemental work to those who needed it. Jose Velez, Migdalia’s husband and super of 103 Orchard Street, also acted as the super of the Solidaridad building, and Migdalia went on to teach there herself. Solidaridad Humana had a saying: Todos enseñamos, todos aprendemos: “We all teach, we all learn”.

Upon arriving in New York from Puerto Rico in the early 1970s, Migdalia Mangal signed up at Solidaridad Humana for English lessons. The participatory education organization operated out of an abandoned school building that helped the growing Puerto Rican community fill gaps left in the social and educational infrastructure of New York. As well as English classes, people could receive help for resume writing and job interviews, and high school equivalency degrees. Later, CUNY and other colleges sent professors to teach in the school, making the courses more accessible. The organization also supported the students by providing supplemental work to those who needed it. Jose Velez, Migdalia’s husband and super of 103 Orchard Street, also acted as the super of the Solidaridad building, and Migdalia went on to teach there herself. Solidaridad Humana had a saying: Todos enseñamos, todos aprendemos: “We all teach, we all learn”.

This pamphlet for Lydia E. Pinkham's Vegetable Compound (c. 1910s) was found in a fireplace in 103 Orchard Street. Altho...
09/20/2021

This pamphlet for Lydia E. Pinkham's Vegetable Compound (c. 1910s) was found in a fireplace in 103 Orchard Street. Although you might not think it, this compound was actually used a form of birth control at the turn of the 20th century. It advertised that it would "cure the worst forms of female complaints" and that it would "dissolve and dispel tumors of the uterus in early stages of development."
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Before 1873, birth control and contraceptives were legal and accessible, easily available through mail-order catalogs. But the Comstock Act of 1873 made it illegal to send "obscene" and "lewd" material through the mail, essentially cutting off access to birth control completely. People were turned to products that relied on euphemisms to sell, such as Lydia's "vegetable compound".
.
Rather than being able to have frank conversations about their reproductive health and family planning, many people were informally educated by talking to trusted friends or neighbors. The products and practices most available to working class women were often unvetted by medical professionals, and tended to be the least effective and oftentimes dangerous.
.
After much lobbying, and women fighting for access to family planning, in 1938 birth control became legal for married women to use. Doctors and scientists were then able to research contraceptives freely, eventually leading to more safe and effective methods.

This pamphlet for Lydia E. Pinkham's Vegetable Compound (c. 1910s) was found in a fireplace in 103 Orchard Street. Although you might not think it, this compound was actually used a form of birth control at the turn of the 20th century. It advertised that it would "cure the worst forms of female complaints" and that it would "dissolve and dispel tumors of the uterus in early stages of development."
.
Before 1873, birth control and contraceptives were legal and accessible, easily available through mail-order catalogs. But the Comstock Act of 1873 made it illegal to send "obscene" and "lewd" material through the mail, essentially cutting off access to birth control completely. People were turned to products that relied on euphemisms to sell, such as Lydia's "vegetable compound".
.
Rather than being able to have frank conversations about their reproductive health and family planning, many people were informally educated by talking to trusted friends or neighbors. The products and practices most available to working class women were often unvetted by medical professionals, and tended to be the least effective and oftentimes dangerous.
.
After much lobbying, and women fighting for access to family planning, in 1938 birth control became legal for married women to use. Doctors and scientists were then able to research contraceptives freely, eventually leading to more safe and effective methods.

Michael Gold was a radical writer, activist, and cultural figure who advocated for social change and human rights. His a...
09/16/2021

Michael Gold was a radical writer, activist, and cultural figure who advocated for social change and human rights. His acclaimed autobiographical 1930 novel "Jews Without Money" employed his powerful journalistic voice to offer a candid look at the thieves, gangsters, and ordinary citizens who made up the Lower East Side in the 1920s. Join us on September 28 for a free virtual book talk with Patrick Chura, author of "Michael Gold: The People’s Writer", in conversation with author, journalist and critic J. Hoberman, as they discuss Gold's life and career as both a courageous and controversial figure of the twentieth century. Register now!

https://www.tenement.org/events/virtual-book-talk-michael-gold-the-peoples-writer/

Michael Gold was a radical writer, activist, and cultural figure who advocated for social change and human rights. His acclaimed autobiographical 1930 novel "Jews Without Money" employed his powerful journalistic voice to offer a candid look at the thieves, gangsters, and ordinary citizens who made up the Lower East Side in the 1920s. Join us on September 28 for a free virtual book talk with Patrick Chura, author of "Michael Gold: The People’s Writer", in conversation with author, journalist and critic J. Hoberman, as they discuss Gold's life and career as both a courageous and controversial figure of the twentieth century. Register now!

https://www.tenement.org/events/virtual-book-talk-michael-gold-the-peoples-writer/

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 10am - 6pm
Tuesday 10am - 6pm
Thursday 10am - 6pm
Friday 10am - 6pm
Saturday 10am - 5:30am
Sunday 10am - 6pm

Telephone

(212) 982-8420

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Comments

This novel's Chapter II includes a Goodbye to NewYork night ride that stops at the Lower East Side Cherry Street address where the Industrialist Dr. Armand Hammer was born May 21, 1898.
TONIGHT, 7/22 at 7:30pm If you live in Westchester County, NY we invite you to join us to send a clear and cohesive message that the we support the NYS Culturally Responsive-Sustaining Education Framework, DEI initiatives, and CRT (both culturally relevant teaching and critical race theory). In order to do that, we are using the Zinn Education Project's Pledge to Teach the Truth Campaign. The goal is to sign the Zinn pledge and take a photo at a historically significant site and write or record a statement of WHY we support schools and teachers that promote these initiatives. Be sure to use the hashtag #TeachTruth when posting on social media. If you are unable to participate tonight we welcome you to do it as soon as you get a chance and send in your pledge to [email protected] Also, please consider this idea for your local areas as well, even if you think you live in a progressive area, we are seeing this fight happen at every BOE meeting.
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
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!!!