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 also offer neighborhood walking tours, evening events,
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The Tenement Museum tells the true stories of American immigrant families through recreated apartments in a historic tenement building constructed in New York's historic Lower East Side. We also offer neighborhood walking tours, evening programs, free English language classes and programs for school groups. 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.

Join us on August 27 for "Chamber Pots & Handkerchiefs: Illness in a 19th Century Tenement" a virtual visit adapted from...
08/14/2020

Join us on August 27 for "Chamber Pots & Handkerchiefs: Illness in a 19th Century Tenement" a virtual visit adapted from our popular Life and Death building tour that will trace the changing ways outbreaks of cholera and endemic tuberculosis were understood and treated. We’ll be discussing how tenements, working class neighborhoods, and immigrant living informed the emerging municipal responses to public health, and the impact of those legacies today in contemporary reactions to Covid-19.
https://www.tenement.org/events/chamber-pots-handkerchiefs-illness-in-a-19th-century-tenement/

In the 19th century, public health officials were waging a war against public spitting, a habit deeply engrained in soci...
08/12/2020

In the 19th century, public health officials were waging a war against public spitting, a habit deeply engrained in society, particularly in American male culture. They employed everything from educational campaigns and dedicated organizations, to fines and even jail time, to try and stop the practice.

https://www.tenement.org/blog/a-long-battle-against-public-spitting/

08/11/2020
Census 2020 - Julie Menin

Why is it so important you fill out the #Census2020? Julie Menin, Director of the Census for NYC, was a panelists at a Tenement Talk last May discussing why it's necessary for our communities to take part in the Census. Watch the full Talk here: https://youtu.be/lscW5WBYj3I and if you haven't already, head to 2020census.gov to fill out the Census!

Join us on August 20 to virtually visit the 1930s home of the Baldizzi Family, just like on our "Hard Times" building to...
08/06/2020
Virtual Tour: Baldizzi Family, 1930s - Tenement Museum

Join us on August 20 to virtually visit the 1930s home of the Baldizzi Family, just like on our "Hard Times" building tour, and explore their daily lives and experiences as immigrants living through the Great Depression. Get your tickets now at https://www.tenement.org/events/virtual-tour-baldizzi-family-1930s/

Join the Tenement Museum for a virtual visit to the 1930s home of Adolpho and Rosaria Baldizzi, immigrants from Sicily who lived at 97 Orchard Street.

The Tenement Museum was saddened to hear about the loss of legendary NYC journalist, Pete Hamill. A fan of the Museum wh...
08/05/2020
Pete Hamill on the New York That We've Lost -- New York Magazine - Nymag

The Tenement Museum was saddened to hear about the loss of legendary NYC journalist, Pete Hamill. A fan of the Museum who spoke at several Tenement Talks in the late 2000s, Mr. Hamill was an incredibly gifted writer, who effortlessly captured the spirit of New York City and the importance of preserving its memory. Take a moment to read his piece for New York Magazine, published in 1987. Although he laments the disappearance of Old New York, it is through storytellers, much like Mr. Hamill himself, who keep its history alive.

His words are even more poignant today, as he wrote of a time when people would look back at New York today, and not forget all that came before. "I hope that at least one old and wizened New Yorker will reach for a pen and try to explain about our lost glories: and mention spaldeens and trolleys and—if he can make it clear, if he has the skill and the memory—even Willie Mays." https://nymag.com/news/features/48277/

Once there was another city here, and now it is gone. There are almost no traces of it anymore, but millions of us know it existed, because we lived in it: the Lost City of New York.

Today on our blog, we're looking back at the former Rivington St branch of the @NYPL. Opened in 1905, it exemplifies the...
08/05/2020
The Rivington St. Library - Tenement Museum

Today on our blog, we're looking back at the former Rivington St branch of the @NYPL. Opened in 1905, it exemplifies the importance of libraries, particularly in immigrant neighborhoods, where the many free resources are invaluable to the residents.

https://www.tenement.org/blog/the-rivington-st-library/

Far more than just repositories for books, public libraries serve and have served a wide variety of purposes and populations, from borrowing books to internet access, services that are being sorely missed because of closures due to the pandemic. While the public libraries of the early 20th century d...

Join us on August 11 for a free virtual field trip exploring the role of community in creating change, through the story...
08/04/2020

Join us on August 11 for a free virtual field trip exploring the role of community in creating change, through the story of the Saez-Velez family, a Puerto Rican family who lived on the Lower East Side for fifty years. This program is sponsored by the New York City Department of Education’s Office of Family and Community Empowerment. Register to receive a Zoom link!
https://www.tenement.org/events/doe-sponsored-virtual-field-trip-saez-velez-family/

07/30/2020
A Dream Renewed: The Epstein Family

#OTD in 1947, Kalman and Regina Epstein, Holocaust refugees, declared their intent to become U.S. citizens, after arriving in New York following President Truman's directive authorizing only 1,000 visas for survivors. Watch "A Dream Renewed: The Epstein Family" - an incredibly inspiring and touching story of resilience, perseverance and new beginnings.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O3Za2rSydFo

Arriving in New York in April 1947, Regina and Kalman Epstein were among the first World War II refugees to be allowed into the United States. The Epsteins f...

First established in 1886, University Settlement, located at the corner of Eldridge and Rivington Streets, has continued...
07/29/2020

First established in 1886, University Settlement, located at the corner of Eldridge and Rivington Streets, has continued to serve residents of the Lower East Side throughout the years. Read more about this historic institution on our blog: https://www.tenement.org/blog/americas-first-settlement-house/

07/28/2020
Book Talk: Jennifer Egan's Writing

#LIVENOW: Virtual Book Talk with Jennifer Egan on our Youtube channel! Watch now - https://youtu.be/J4XE_xlIDvY

Join us on YouTube Live for a virtual book talk with Jennifer Egan, the author of The Invisible Circus, Look at Me, Emerald City and Other Stories, The Keep,...

While our tenement apartments are closed because of the COVID-19 pandemic, our institution is still virtually opened. By...
07/27/2020
Experience The Museum From Home - Tenement Museum

While our tenement apartments are closed because of the COVID-19 pandemic, our institution is still virtually opened. By joining us for virtual live programs, booking a private virtual event or field trip, exploring our digital exhibits, and taking a neighborhood walking tour (coming soon), you are helping to ensure our survival, and an eventual return to our beloved building tours. We thank you for your continued support!

https://www.tenement.org/experience-the-museum-from-home/

While our physical doors may have temporarily closed, you can still experience the Tenement Museum from home. We are continually developing new and exciting ways for the community to visit the Museum from home, so stay tuned for more soon!

07/21/2020
Virtual Book Talk: Wild City

#LIVENOW: Join us for a virtual book talk on "Wild City: A Brief History of New York City in 40 Animals" with author Thomas Hynes, over on our Youtube Channel! https://youtu.be/-0NRNwqmWX4

Join us on July 21 for a free virtual talk with Thomas Hynes, author of "Wild City: A Brief History of New York City in 40 Animals," in conversation with Ten...

Join us on July 28 for a virtual book talk with Jennifer Egan, the author of "Manhattan Beach" and "A Visit from the Goo...
07/21/2020

Join us on July 28 for a virtual book talk with Jennifer Egan, the author of "Manhattan Beach" and "A Visit from the Good Squad." Jennifer will be joined in conversation by the Tenement Museum’s Associate Director of Visitor Services, Katie Baker-Barricks. They’ll focus on Egan’s earlier work and how it led her to a new genre for "Manhattan Beach." And maybe we’ll find out how this strange time has dictated what she’s working on next! RSVP at https://www.tenement.org/events/virtual-book-talk-jennifer-egans-writing/

Scribner Books

Homemakers, strikers, advocates, and politicos! From working to make a home in a new and unfamiliar place, to fighting f...
07/20/2020
Tenement Women: Agents of Change - Tenement Museum

Homemakers, strikers, advocates, and politicos! From working to make a home in a new and unfamiliar place, to fighting for their voices to be heard, these women left a mark. Find out more in our online exhibit, Tenement Women: Agents of Change. https://www.tenement.org/tenement-women-agents-of-change/

Digital Exhibit in Honor of Women’s History From politics to pop culture, women on the Lower East Side have long led movements for social, cultural, and political change. Explore the digital exhibit to discover stories of workers and activists, creators and changemakers who brought new ideas to th...

07/16/2020
Objects of Comfort - Kaylee's Hot Chocolate Pot

"It brings back so many positive and warm nostalgic memories of when my mom and my grandma and I used to make breakfast in the morning." What objects are making you remember home during these difficult times? Let us know at tenement.org/objects-of-comfort!

In the next Dead and Buried, we contemplate the Essential Workers lost to history, who helped construct 97 Orchard St as...
07/15/2020
Dead and Buried Part III: The Found - Tenement Museum

In the next Dead and Buried, we contemplate the Essential Workers lost to history, who helped construct 97 Orchard St as the Civil War raged and the city was overcome with racial turmoil. And the location of Lucas Glockner's grave is finally discovered...
https://www.tenement.org/blog/dead-and-buried-part-iii-the-found/

This is part three of a four-part series documenting the search for the grave of 97 Orchard Street’s first landlord, Lucas Glockner, in Green-Wood Cemetery, a 478-acre cemetery in Brooklyn that opened in 1838. Read part one and part two.

The Lyons family was likely targeted during the #DraftRiots for using their wealth to create political power for the Bla...
07/14/2020

The Lyons family was likely targeted during the #DraftRiots for using their wealth to create political power for the Black community. The daughter of the family, Maritcha Lyons (pictured) remembers: "Before my graduation from the New York school, the Civil War was raging with intense bitterness on both sides. A draft, ordered by the Federal Government, precipitated the fatal New York City riots of 1863. These convulsed the city, spread havoc, and were specially disastrous to Many of our colored people. On the afternoon of July, a rabble attacked our house, breaking window panes, smashing shutters, and partially demolishing the main front door. Had not the mob's attention have been suddenly diverted, further damage would certainly have ensued. The stones thrown in were utilised as material to form a barricade for the otherwise unprotected main front doorway."

#OTD in 1863 the Draft Riots began, initially a response to the Conscription Act  requiring a drafted person to pay a $3...
07/13/2020

#OTD in 1863 the Draft Riots began, initially a response to the Conscription Act requiring a drafted person to pay a $300 fee to be excused. Many were upset about the $300 fee because it was inaccessible to the poor and working class, while others compared the fee for the draft to the sales of the enslaved. What began as a demonstration quickly turned to rioting. Racist tensions ran high for members of the white working class in the summer of 1863, due to the recent abolition of slavery, as well as labor disputes involving Black strike breakers. A strike against the draft turned into a race riot, attacking Black communities in New York City.
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An illustration of a building on fire on New York’s Lexington Avenue during the Draft Riots of 1863. The drawing appeared in William J. Bradley’s "The Civil War: Fort Sumter to Appomatax"

The 1838/1839 City Directory lists 125 Rivington St. (pictured today on the right) as an African Free School, making it ...
07/09/2020

The 1838/1839 City Directory lists 125 Rivington St. (pictured today on the right) as an African Free School, making it one of the first educational institutions for African Americans in the country. The New York Manumission Society first formed in 1787; it was largely comprised of elite, white, and wealthy enslavers. Members included John Jay and Alexander Hamilton. The society held goals regarding Black emancipation declaring: "Education would demonstrate the humanity of Black people and their capacity to live and work as free men and women." Meanwhile school practices upheld white supremacy. Historians Ira Berlin and Leslie Harris argue that along with Black salvation, the schools "also envisioned education as a mode of social control that transformed the children of Africa into 'quiet and orderly citizens.'"

In part 2 of "Dead and Buried," our 4-part series looking for the grave of 97 Orchard Street's first owner in Green-Wood...
07/08/2020
Dead and Buried Part II: The Lost - Tenement Museum

In part 2 of "Dead and Buried," our 4-part series looking for the grave of 97 Orchard Street's first owner in Green-Wood Cemetery, we stumble instead on the monument to William H. West, whose gravesite only hints at West's upsetting career spent in 19th century minstrel entertainment, performing onstage in blackface. Read "Dead and Buried Part II: The Lost" now: https://www.tenement.org/blog/dead-and-buried-part-ii-the-lost/

This is part two of a four-part series documenting the search for the grave of 97 Orchard Street’s first landlord, Lucas Glockner, in Green-Wood Cemetery, a 478-acre cemetery in Brooklyn that opened in 1838. Read part one here.

07/07/2020
Book Talk: City of Dreams

#LIVENOW: Virtual Book Talk - City of Dreams with author Tyler Anbinder! Join us now on YoutubeLive: https://youtu.be/i4UU7U_Y9X4

Please note: This program was originally scheduled for June 2, 2020 and is now being held on July 7, 2020. Join us for a book talk with Tyler Anbinder, autho...

Beginning with their arrival in New York in the 1950s, different generations of the Saez-Velez family built community at...
07/06/2020

Beginning with their arrival in New York in the 1950s, different generations of the Saez-Velez family built community at home, school, work, and in the neighborhood. To explore more, join us on 7/8 for "Building a Community: How Can We make a Difference?" RSVP at https://www.tenement.org/events/virtual-family-event-building-a-community-july-8/
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Photo of the Saez-Velez family, c. 1980, from the Tenement Museum Photo Collection

July 4th, 1827 was the last day that slavery in New York was legal, over 50 years after the signing of the Declaration o...
07/04/2020

July 4th, 1827 was the last day that slavery in New York was legal, over 50 years after the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Emancipation in New York was a long process, first beginning in 1799. The state did not work to end slavery due to humanitarian ideals, but because of the dedicated work of the free Black community and the Manumission Society. Celebrations and parades marked this historic day in 1827, and it is an important anniversary in New York history that should not be forgotten.

Newspaper clipping: The Long-Island Star (Brooklyn, New York) · 5 Jul 1827

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 10:00 - 18:30
Tuesday 10:00 - 18:30
Wednesday 10:00 - 18:30
Thursday 10:00 - 20:30
Friday 10:00 - 18:30
Saturday 10:00 - 18:30
Sunday 10:00 - 18:30

Telephone

(212) 982-8420

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Comments

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!!!
Oh, Tony.