Hard Hat Tour of Ellis Island Hospital – Touring New York City

We visited New York City for two days last week before moving Matt into school and I have
to share one of our amazing adventures with you…….
First you jump on the National Park Service boat leaving from Battery Park
Your first stop is  Liberty Island to see the Statue of Liberty.   
You can also reserve tickets to go inside the statue – up to her crown!
(An audio tour is included free – so don’t forget to pick that up and really learn something.)
Then you get back on the boat and head over to Ellis Island.
Ellis Island is the best part of the whole tour, in my opinion…  
(This is our third visit because we can’t get enough of this place!)  

First, pick up your audio tour and enjoy learning all about how from 1892 to 1954,
 over twelve million immigrants entered the United States through that one little building.
Take your time and enjoy all the exhibits of the museum -made all the more special 
with your audio tour because you hear from the immigrant’s themselves, sound effects, etc 
 (Can you tell we love audio tours???)
This time our visit included a Hard Hat tour of the Ellis Island abandoned hospital buildings.
(The hospital area has been blocked to the public for the past 60 years and 
this tour is the only way to see this amazing part of our country’s history.)
So along with our guide, Matt and I donned hard hats and set off down the abandoned hallways….

The first stop was the laundry room (did you guess that is an ancient washing machine? 
processing tons of hospital laundry every day!) 

And it was in the laundry room that we got our first glimpse of a special art exhibit titled
 “Unframed – Ellis Island” 
The artist, JR, prepared life size historic photographs of Ellis Island immigrants and 
pasted them on selected walls on the south side of Ellis Island.
The artist’s intent was to evoke a sense of time and place and give context to the 
human lives that were touched by their time at Ellis Island.

A sense of time passing is everywhere….and it isn’t hard to imagine the wards filled
with scared and sick immigrants hoping they will get well and will be permitted 
to enter the United States.  
Immigrants who were sick were either immediately sent home or were admitted to the hospital on Ellis Island to see if they could be treated — if they couldn’t they were sent home.
(And yes, that meant that a whole family could arrive together and dad be sent home due to
illness – since most families couldn’t afford the return fare for everyone they stayed
while dad, or mom, or grandma had to go back….)

Are you beginning to see why hard hats were required?

Of course they had a morgue – and a classroom setting where
doctors could travel from all over the US to watch and learn from autopsies….

Seriously, is this AMAZING or what????

(Here’s a historic photo of this room full of patients)

Needless to say, we’re already looking forward to our next visit
and next time I’ll be bringing my real camera (these were all captured with my little point n shoot!)

For tickets, visit The Statue of Liberty tickets
and Hard Hat Tours of Ellis Island for more information

 The UNFRAMED Ellis Island art project aims to bring alive the memory of Ellis Island, the entry point to America for millions of immigrants. Coming from all over the world, leaving their belongings, their family and their past behind them, with the fear that they may be sent back to it, the presence of these people who have shaped the modern American identity can still be felt in the buildings, although abandoned for the past 70 years. This is the opportunity to interpret the stories of these people through art.

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